This is part 14 of our coronavirus FAQ. Click here to read the other installments: #Coronavirus the facts.
The Japanese government’s expert panel on coronavirus policy is urging the public to get accustomed to what it calls “new social behavior.” This includes a number of changes to how we run and play outside.
Professor Kuno Shinya of the University of Tsukuba's graduate school posted a video on YouTube featuring pointers on how to run safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Maintain a distance of at least 10 meters between runners ahead of and behind you.
- When passing someone, keep a distance of about 1.5 meters to the side.
- Run at a slower pace than usual. Wearing a face mask makes it harder to breathe and places a greater burden on your heart and lungs.
As the days get hotter, heatstroke is another concern. Sugioka Juji is a certified sports doctor with the Japan Medical Association. He says running with a mask reduces oxygen flow to the brain, making us less sharp.
Sugioka says that in such a state, we are less aware of our physical condition. We are less sensitive to fluid loss and may not notice when we are dehydrated, putting us at particularly great risk of heatstroke.
Some elementary and junior high schools have reopened their playgrounds to give children somewhere to spend time amid nationwide school closures. Parents may be concerned about the risk of infection in such settings.
Sakamoto Fumie, an infectious disease expert at St. Lukes International Hospital in Japan, says playgrounds pose no major danger, as long as the number of children is restricted and play times are limited. However, she adds that risks could increase as the situation in the country changes.
Sakamoto says we should always disinfect our hands before entering a supermarket. She adds that we should keep our visits short and go at less crowded times.