Coronavirus Prevention: Sports and Exercise

Coronavirus prevention is affecting every area of people's lives, and sports and exercise are no exception. Many international sports organizations have cancelled events, but it's also important to think about the sports and exercise you do on a smaller scale.
Coronavirus Prevention: Sports and Exercise

Last update: 27 May, 2020

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has greatly disrupted people’s daily lives. Coronavirus prevention has also changed the way that people are exercising and doing sports.
Official soccer teams have taken many different measures, depending on which association they belong to. Some states started by canceling games, other teams played some games with no spectators, and in some cases, soccer players with fever were quarantined. As the situation worsened, teams and organizations started to take more restrictive and broader measures.
Some important worldwide events have also been canceled or postponed. For example, the United Arab Emirates Cycling Tour had to be suspended mid-tour because some cyclists had symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
Also, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Olympics, is on hold. It was scheduled to take place in Tokyo, starting on July 24th of this year. While they still haven’t made a final decision, it’s possible they’ll postpone the games.

Coronavirus prevention: what is the coronavirus?

Before we talk about coronavirus prevention in terms of sports and exercise, let’s clarify what we’re talking about. This illness is a virus that’s spread around the world exponentially since December of 2019.

This particular strain of the virus is called COVID-19, and it started its journey in Wuhan, China. Experts believe that it mutated there from a virus that only affected animals to the strain that can be passed between humans.

A runner practicing coronavirus prevention.

Coronaviruses have already caused three large epidemics in humans:

  • SARS: this is a severe respiratory syndrome that broke out in 2002. It started in China, affected 8,000 people, and the mortality rate was over 10 percent.
  • MERS-CoV: this strain of the coronavirus appeared in 2012 and initially started in Saudia Arabia. It’s deadly and continues to infect people, but there have only been 2,400 total confirmed cases so far.
  • COVID-19: this is the outbreak we’re dealing with today that started in China. The mortality rate is between three and four percent, although the numbers change every day. So far, there are more than 81,000 cases in China, over 24,000 in Italy, nearly 14,000 in Iran, and more than 7,800 in Spain. Worldwide, there are more than 181,000 people with the virus, and 7,114 have died.

Quarantine and limited contact in sports: coronavirus prevention

The social distancing measures that people are taking all over the world have one goal in mind: to flatten the curve of infection. This is in an attempt to try and prevent a large number of people from being infected and overwhelming the health systems.

Quarantines, the six-foot separation between people, travel restrictions, and other measures also apply to the world of sports and exercise. All of these steps create a temporary window that allows the health care system to meet the demand.

In terms of portion events, it makes sense to cancel large public gatherings. This is a basic measure related to quarantine.

This rule should also apply to smaller sporting events. You can’t just think about professional soccer games, for example. When a country has gotten to the local transmission stage, the authorities should close gyms and pools.

Athletes over 60 years old are more at risk, as well as those with chronic illness. These people should take social distancing measures very seriously, even in countries that haven’t closed sports and exercise centers.

A cancelled sporting event.

Coronavirus prevention methods in the sports and exercise world

The same coronavirus prevention methods that people are practicing, in general, should also be applied to sports and exercise. They’ll reduce the spread of infection and slow the propagation of the virus.

Experts recommend these general measures:

  • Washing your hands with soapor alcohol in gel form if no water is available.
  • When you cough, cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or a tissue.
  • Disinfect the surface of everyday objects such as your cell phone as often as you can.
  • Don’t touch your face, eyes or mouth with your hands, unless you just washed your hands.
  • Call your doctor (but don’t rush to the hospital) if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Sports are part of our lives

It’s important to understand that coronavirus prevention in the world of sports and exercise highlights the fact that exercise is part of who we are as human beings. Millions of people are involved in sports, and it’s people who spread the virus.

Consequently, it’s the responsibility of the official sports associations as well as the athletes to try to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We all have to work together!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Izquierdo, Laura Díez. INFORME TÉCNICO Nuevo coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Diss. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 2020.
  • World Health Organization. “Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) technical guidance.” (2020).
  • Mayo Montero, MªE, et al. “Prevención y control de la infección ante sujetos sospechosos de infección por el nuevo coronavirus MERS-CoV en Unidades militares.” Sanidad Militar 71.3 (2015): 196-200.
  • Ramos, Celso. “Covid-19: la nueva enfermedad causada por un coronavirus.” salud pública de méxico 62.2, Mar-Abr (2020): 225-227.
  • Bonilla-Aldana, D. K., Villamil-Gómez, W. E., Rabaan, A. A., & Rodriguez-Morales, A. J. (2020). Una nueva zoonosis viral de preocupación global: COVID-19, enfermedad por coronavirus 2019. Iatreia, 1(1).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.