HOUSTON — Working out is a great way to de-stress, especially in times like this. But if you’re looking to burn some calories over the next few weeks, you’ll want to double check with your gym before you head out the door.
New COVID-19/coronavirus recommendations set by the White House on Monday afternoon have prompted more businesses to close in the interest of public health, and that includes gyms.
Even before these closures were announced, doctors put gyms on their list of places to avoid during the pandemic, and some states had already forced their closure along with restaurants, bars and theaters.
Here are some of the big gym chains that closed indefinitely as of Tuesday night, March 16:
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Gold’s Gym (company-owned locations)
- LA Fitness
- Lifetime Fitness
- Orangetheory Fitness
- Soulcycle (as of 3/16 website does not show Texas closures, but their official social media says all locations)
- YMCA - all locations across Houston
Lifetime is among the biggest gym chains to close, but there is some good news for its customers and employees: "The length of each club's closure will be dependent on governmental guidance. Members will be credited for the number of days the club is closed, and team members will be compensated,” the company stated on its website.
Of course you’ll want to check with your gym to see if you’ll get a refund for the closed days.
In the meantime, some places like Planet Fitness (who has not yet announced a total closure) are offering free, live at-home workouts via Facebook. The workouts are archived so you can join in later, if you can’t watch live.
Health experts say you shouldn't let the virus keep you from working out. If you’re not sick, don’t have any symptoms and your allergies can tolerate it, it’s okay to go outside and go for a walk or a run. Just stay six feet away from others and avoided crowded areas (like a busy park). (Here are some other ways to stay health during the outbreak.)
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Stay up to date on coronavirus
How coronavirus is spread
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through:
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, hot your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.