Is Group Exercise (Boot Camp) safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Mar 26, 2020

On Tuesday 25th March Prime Minister Morrison released Stage 2 restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 In Australia.

Outdoor exercise in groups of up to 10 people (such as with “boot camp”) is permitted under these restrictions, however, there are good reasons why we should NOT be participating in such activities.

Exercise, indoors or outdoors, remains safe and beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you are subject to quarantine.

The following precautions should be observed when exercising:
• Stay at home if you are unwell
• Keep a distance of 2-4 metres between people when walking, running or doing activity where you are puffing hard
• Do not touch outdoor surfaces such as playground equipment or park fitness equipment
• Do not share equipment in outdoor classes including mats and weights
• Do not share sporting equipment such as drink bottles, footballs, racquets
• Wash your hands before and after activity.

With this in mind, it is not advisable to participate in boot camp activities involving equipment, mats and people close together.

Safe outdoor activity to reduce transmission of COVID-19 means exercising with no more than 2 others and keeping at 2-4 metres apart recognising that as you breathe more heavily during exercise you need to keep further distance.

Exercise outdoors with no more than 2 others and keep 2-4 metres apart. Don’t touch equipment others use.

In some less strenuous activity, such as Thai Chi, the usual distance of 1.5 metres is sufficient.

There are major benefits to exercising during this time: exercise will improve your psychological wellbeing, optimise your immune system, reduce the impact of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, reduce the feeling of social isolation and add variety to your day.

This, however, needs to be done with some good sense and physical distancing from each other so we reduce the chance of spread of COVID-19 – optimising, not risking, our health.

Editorial supplied by Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians, Exercise & Sports Science Australia and Sports Medicine Australia.