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Should we be running during the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Mar 16, 2020 | Running, Running Advice | 6 comments

running during coronavirus

I am NOT pretending to be an expert on this, the very opposite in fact.

Check out my post admitting that I probably shouldn’t have travelled to the US last week here. Whilst I admit I was wrong to do this, and am very upfront about the fact that I underestimated the risk of coronavirus even up to 10 days ago, I want to share information from trusted sources to help you make informed decisions.

But firstly, I just want to remind you all that we’re all just doing the best we can with the information we have at the time. I’ve seen so much hate and mean spirit online, and speaking to my blogger/IG friends, it seems none of us are immune. It wasn’t that long ago that we were all talking about being kind in the wake of Caroline Flack’s tragic death, and now that all seems to have been forgotten. So please do remember that next time you send a DM or comment on a pic.

Coronavirus advice changes daily, this was written on March 16th and could well be out-of-date already….

The UK government have today updated guidelines, advising against social gatherings, with suggestions not to visit pubs, clubs and theatres, and stopping non-essential contact. They have recommended that people should work from home wherever possible and stop all non-essential travel.

should you run during coronavirus


Who to get your Covid-19 information from? 

Should we be running during this Coronavirus Outbreak? 

Yes… being outside in the fresh air is good for both our mental health and physical health. So advice is currently to continue to run as long as you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus. If you do feel unwell, with a temperature, cough or any flu like symptoms then we shouldn’t be exercising.

If you’re self-isolating (which at the time of writing, is for 7 days, or 14 days if someone in your house is showing symptoms) then you shouldn’t be running outside during this time. If you’re lucky enough to have a treadmill at home, or a garden you can run around, then great otherwise at-home workouts during self-isolation (when you’re not ill!) are a great option.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people be cancelled or postponed for the next 8 weeks. These measures have come into play in the UK today too. Many parkruns (although currently not the UK) and most races have been cancelled until end of March (rightly so in my opinion).

With that in mind, if you usually run with a large group of people, it’s worth breaking down into smaller groups and keeping a little distance between you as you run.

Some doctors are also recommending that runners avoid long, intense runs at the moment to avoid overdoing it, suggesting we focus more on health than fitness in the current climate. With plenty of marathons postponed until autumn, this might be possible for a couple of months but it’s likely that a lot of runner’s will be ramping up the mileage over the summer.

running during coronavirus

What about going to the gym? 

This is harder to give an opinion on because whilst it’s agreed that you definitely shouldn’t be going to the gym (or anywhere) when you have symptoms of coronavirus. And with updated UK and US advice for social distancing, gyms might not be the best place to be.

Whilst sweat alone cannot transmit the virus, it could live on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to 9 days according to some, and gyms have been identified as high-risk locations. SoulCycle had stopped using their weights during class, and Barry’s had switched to a 25 min tread/25 min weights with a mid-workout clean. However, both of these studios have now cancelled most classes (as have many others), and most studios that I’ve been to before have emailed members/customers advising us that the studios will remain open with reduced class sizes, increased cleaning, and options to pause memberships.

Of course I want to support small businesses during this awful time, however I think it’s really important to do what’s best for those around me (particularly the patients in the hospital). Personally I think it’s time to bring your workout into your home when you can, or opt for small group/individual outside workouts or personal training if you can afford it. Some gyms like Barrecore have online options, which help support the business whilst reducing risk.

Some other options for at home workouts;

Should we be boosting our immunity? 

There is no magic pill or superfood that is guaranteed to bolster your immune system and protect you from coronavirus, and the WHO and NHS are continuing to advise for ‘optimal lifestyle practices’ (sleep, nutrition and activity). Continue doing what you would usually do to stay healthy, eating well (plenty of water, fruit and veg, wholegrain, protein (meat/fish or plant based) and exercising. If you want to supplement with the support of a doctor or healthcare professional, then go for it however you definitely don’t need to be spending money (or stressing about it) – aside from Vitamin D supplements for most of the UK population!

  • Vitamin C: there’s no evidence that high doses prevents you from catching Covid-19 and actually could cause nausea and diarrhoea
  • Garlic: there’s no evidence that eating garlic will protect you from contracting coronavirus
  • Zinc, echinacea, elderberry etc – there is no evidence that these supplements are beneficial in preventing coronavirus.
Garlic WHO recommendations

Stay safe out there friends xx


  1. Lindsay

    This isolation is painful for those of us without families … I have worked at home for over a year but this is SO very different. With these rules in place I won’t have any human contact for days on end due to the nature of the work and that is terrifying. Does the government think its a good idea for this to go on for so long?

    • charlotte

      I do think it’s important to remember that social distancing and self -isolation are different. Currently you can still go out to shops when you need, could meet up with 1 or 2 people, go to others houses or for a walk/run together. Its important not to be in big groups, bars/restaurants etc – personally I’m restricting my contact with pregnant, older demographics and friends at higher risk because I am the risk with my job. Please reach out if you’re feeling lonely or scared xx

  2. Joan Dukore

    I’m so glad that you posted what won’t help. People need to stop spending money on these things… except garlic, but only because it’s yummy.

    • charlotte

      Love cooking with garlic – although I try not to have too much at lunch before seeing patients!

  3. Brian

    Thanks for sharing. It’s definitely good that running is easy to do and adopt as a social distancing activity. I’m continuing to run several times a week to keep healthy and active during this crazy time. All we can do now is be kind to each other and keep a safe distance to prevent ourselves and others from getting sick. We’re all in this together!

  4. Anytimestrength

    Thanks for sharing the article on this topic. Running is good for our health but at this moment I do think it’s important that we stay at home most probably.


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