Keeping Safe While Exercising

Exercising regularly is a benefit for both the body and the mind. It can help reduce a number of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and many different cancers. People with underlying non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity have a high risk for developing severe and even fatal COVID-19, therefore physical activity is encouraged for all.

Living during a pandemic can be very stressful, and doing regular physical activity can improve mental health and generally make us feel better.

The more you interact with others, the higher your risk of COVID-19 infection. In line with the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Rwanda Biomedical Centre related to COVID-19, several precautions have been adopted to minimize the risk of infection.

To reduce your risk while exercising:

  • Participants in sporting activities are advised to practice sports in outdoor settings where there is optimal ventilation, as this can reduce COVID-19 risk factors.
  • Physical contact between participants is discouraged.
  • Participants should carry hand sanitizers on their person at all times.
  • Physical distancing of minimum of 2 meters must be respected at all times between participants in group sports.
  • Participants are encouraged to wear face masks in low intensity settings where breathing will not be compromised. When this is not possible, facemasks must be worn immediately before and after sessions.
  • Sports premises must be regularly sanitized, particularly frequently touched surfaces like handles and washrooms.
  • Sports equipment including mats, bats, racquets, balls etc must be sanitized between individual uses and may not be shared between participants during sessions.
  • Persons with COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted to exercise in public spaces to avoid possible spread to members of the public, they are instead encouraged to exercise at home and contact health authorities.

Doing physical activity while at home is particularly encouraged to reduce risk associated with interaction with other people.

Taking short active breaks to perform activities such as dancing, playing with children, and performing domestic chores such as cleaning and gardening are other means to stay active at home and reach recommended physical activity goals.

When possible, taking an online exercise class is another great way to stay active at home while benefiting from a professional’s guidance.

Walking is another easy but great way to be active at home. Walking in place or in small spaces is also beneficial.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit www.rbc.gov.rw