How to prevent coronavirus in gyms 1:34

(CNN Spanish) – If you are one of those who missed going to the gym during quarantine and social isolation, this episode is for you. In this chapter, Dr. Elmer Huerta discusses a study conducted in Oslo, Norway, on whether or not it is safe to return to gyms during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform or read the transcript below.

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Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information about the new coronavirus, information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family. As many countries begin to relax their measures of social isolation, today we will see how safe it is to go to a gym.

Without a doubt, one of the activities that many people miss – both for reasons of body and mental health – is physical activity in gyms, establishments that were closed in almost all countries for fear of the spread of covid-19.

The idea when closing them – especially after it was shown that the infection can be spread through the breath – was that by doing physical activity and breathing hard, contagion was easier.

The problem is that, until now, there were no scientific studies that could guide towards a reopening of the gyms. A pre-publication of June 25, however, reports an investigation that shows that the spread of the new coronavirus is very rare when certain norms of social distancing between users are met.

The study, done in Oslo, Norway, randomized 3,764 people ages 18 to 64, with no prior history of covid-19, into two groups: those who could use the gyms, and those who couldn’t.

The gyms were duly prepared in advance, offering facilities for hand hygiene and maintaining adequate cleaning of the surfaces.

In all, 1,896 people were assigned to use the gyms, which were only opened for research. The participants only crossed paths with each other and with the study directors.

Almost 82% of people in this group used the gym at least once in the 2-week study period, and almost 40% used it more than six times. The other half were not allowed to visit the gym, and went on with their lives as usual.

After approximately 2 weeks, both groups performed a molecular test on their saliva to see if they were infected with the new coronavirus.

The results indicated that there were no infected among the people who did NOT use the gym, while in the other group, there was a positive case, although it was later found that this person had not yet used the facilities and had been infected at work .

The authors conclude that the use of the gymnasium, as long as adequate cleaning of the place and of the machines is maintained, does not increase the risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus. Some experts disagree with that conclusion, drawing attention to the fact that, at the time the study was conducted, Norway had already passed the wave of infections, and the findings may reflect this, and that It is possible that if the study had been done when the epidemic was at its maximum level, the contagions would have occurred.

Experts also say that the observation period of just two weeks does not give an opportunity to assess the true contagion rate of the participants.

The main message of this study, and this episode, is that a single investigation is not enough to conclude that all gyms are contagion-free places.

We think that, before running to a gym simply because it is already open, it is prudent to wait for more research to verify that these establishments are safe, and that if you decide to use it, find out the frequency of infections in your region of residence and know that hygiene Hands and surfaces, in addition to social distancing, could help you reduce the risk.

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me at @DrHuerta.

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If you have any questions, you can send them to Dr. Elmer Huerta on Twitter. You can also go to for all the episodes of our podcast “Coronavirus: Reality vs. fiction”.