COVID-19 in British Columbia: Low-intensity group physical activity to resume indoors under revised guidelines

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After almost a month of suspension from indoor exercise classes, updated provincial health guidelines will allow some fitness classes and activities to resume.

British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry had said in previous COVID-19 briefings that all high-intensity indoor physical activity (including spin classes, hot yoga and workout at high intensity intervals) would remain suspended for the fall and winter seasons as of November 19. She later demanded that all low-intensity indoor exercise be temporarily stopped on November 24 while the guidelines were updated.

The BC Center for Disease Control and the provincial Department of Health have released new guidelines, based on evidence as of December 14 and updated on December 15, that allow low-intensity physical activity, defined as “any exercise. which does not cause a significant increase in breathing. rates ”—to resume indoors in groups at fitness centers, studios, recreation centers and gyms with an updated COVID-19 safety plan.

Examples of activities that can be restarted include low-intensity barre classes, low-intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment, light weight lifting, low-intensity pilates, stretching, tai chi, and weight lifting. hatha yoga.

Martial arts, gymnastics and cheerleading are not included in these revised guidelines and should refer to public health and ViaSport guidelines for these activities (in addition to public rinks and swimming pools).

The safety plan measures should include the collection of contact information for public health; ventilation measures, such as doors or windows left open and no use of fans; floor marking and signage to direct movement in spaces; cleaning and disinfection; Physical barriers; occupancy limits; physical distancing between participants; audio volume limits for music and voice instructions; public fountains must be closed and participants must bring their own water bottles; and more.

High-intensity indoor group physical activity remains suspended.

This includes aerobics, high intensity or cardiovascular barre classes, bootcamp, strength training and heavy weight lifting, circuit training, CrossFit, dance classes, dance-based fitness ( like Zumba), high-intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment, intensity interval training (HIIT), kickboxing (including tai bo and others), spin classes, and power yoga.

In addition, the “creation of deliberately overheated exercise environments” remains prohibited. As a result, hot yoga cannot resume at this point.

However, some yoga studios that typically offer hot yoga are planning to reopen in-person classes (like Hot Yoga 101 on December 19 and Yyoga on January 3), but only with low-intensity yoga classes without a heated component. .

The updated guidelines are available on the Government of British Columbia website.

Although Henry said his expanded health orders have helped stabilize the number of COVID-19 cases, especially among transmission during rallies, she said the numbers had not yet declined. COVID-19-related deaths remained high last week (including the highest number of deaths over a three-day weekend) and British Columbia announced that more stringent enforcement measures, including including increased inspections, will be implemented.

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