Imagine for a moment that we’ve just received a message from an alien race in a galaxy far, far away.
“Hey, Earthlings,” it reads. “Want to hang out?”
Despite Elon Musk’s protests, our response would probably be something along the lines of “We’re in a weird place right now . . . can you call back later?”
While the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be behind us, and most countries have begun reopening, many restrictions remain in place around the world. Social distancing, mask wearing, occupancy limitations, and border closures are all in effect, and now the question on everyone’s mind is, When can we open up completely?
After all, the original goal of the lockdowns, social distancing, and so forth was to “flatten the curve”—to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients—but that threat never seemed to materialize.
For example, in New York City, one of the hardest hit areas in the U.S., hospitals reached about 85% capacity, and intensive care units hit about 90% capacity during the worst phase of the pandemic. High, yes, but not overflowing.
In Virginia, 75% of ventilators and nearly 6,000 hospital beds were unused or empty back in April, and that number is likely much lower now. Instead of increasing demand for doctors, the pandemic resulted in thousands of healthcare workers being laid off due to a reduction in non-COVID-19-related visits.
What’s more, the CDC reports that people exhibiting flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms only made up about 7% of total hospitalizations in the U.S. in March, and now it’s under 2%.
In other words, the curve was flattened.
However, now the target seems to have changed from “flattening the curve” to “finding a cure,” which, while laudable, is a goal that could take years to bear fruit.
Thus, our current predicament has divided society into two camps.
On the one hand, many people want to begin strategically reopening certain places, based on the available evidence and careful cost-benefit analyses of what that would mean for the population.
On the other hand, there are those that think any further reopenings would be reckless, and until we find a cure, concoct a vaccine, or have all but eradicated COVID-19, we need to get used to “the new normal.”
While only time will tell who’s right in the main, a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Oslo offers some guidance on what would happen if countries were to open one kind of business—gyms.
Before we look at what they discovered, let’s quickly examine a more fundamental question that relates to reopenings on the whole.
If you want to learn about gym reopening, listen to this episode!
15:38 – Has the cure become worse than the disease?
22:07 – Will reopening gyms increase the risk of catching or spreading the virus?
30:56 – Is the gym safe?
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello Muscle for Lifers. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. Hope you don’t mind me calling you that. I think that’s better than Muscle for Life Nation or Muscle for Life family. I’m okay saying that I am a muscle for lifer in more ways than one actually. Anyway, welcome to a new episode of the podcast.
Thank you for. Taking some time outta your day to be here with me, and this episode is going to be controversial to some degree, more controversial than my stuff normally is, which is not controversial at all. There’s nothing too controversial about all the little nooks and crannies of improving body composition in health.
But today’s episode is going to be about going back to the. Is it safe to go back to the gym? Should gyms be open or should they be closed? And this is something I have been getting asked about on social media and via email quite a bit, and I figured that it would make for a good discussion. Now before we get into it, let me just give you a trigger warning, , because if you are the type of person who believes more or less everything the mainstream media tells you, and especially if you believe more or less, everything the anti-Trump mainstream media tells you, and that’s not to say that you should believe everything the pro-Trump mainstream media tells you.
There’s not much. What is their, I don’t know, Fox and o a n. Mainly everything else is anti-Trump, but if you’re the type of person who believes your mainstream news source is mostly telling the truth is mostly just reporting the facts to the best of their ability and is not distorting anything for political reasons.
And if you think that only the other side does that, that your side is mostly honest and is mostly occupying the moral high ground, you might not like this episode because it is going to question some of the assumptions that the media has been forcing down our throats for months. And just to preempt some of the emails I can already see myself receiving before you come back to me saying that I should just stay in my lane.
Let me then ask you, are you a moral philosopher? What gives you the. Or the privilege to judge my actions as right or wrong you’re, you don’t have a degree in philosophy. Maybe you should just stay in your lane then. And for anyone who wants to hit me with some credentialism and say that I shouldn’t be recording a podcast like this because I am not an epidemiologist or a virologist, I say, Yes, you’re right.
I’m not a scientist. I don’t play one on the internet, but that doesn’t mean I’m. It doesn’t mean that I can’t understand research and ask questions. So if you are going to criticize anything that I say in this podcast, please just be specific as to what you disagree with and share any sources you have backing up your counter argument to anything that I say, and I will be glad to check it out.
I’m interested in discussion. I’m not interested in propaganda and. Lee, let’s address one other attack I can already foresee, and that is that I’m recording this episode because I want Jims to open because that would make me more money the more people who are working out, the more people who are buying books about working out and buying supplements, and that’s probably true.
I probably would be making more money if gyms were open, but surprisingly, and knock on wood, I don’t have wood around me would knock on plastic. My businesses have been fine. Legion is doing just fine. Amazon sales were down for a little bit about a month or so. They were down a little bit. Not enough to cause major problems, just enough to be annoying.
And website sales haven’t really been impacted at all by the. Whole situation. Maybe I haven’t seen as much growth as I would’ve seen if there was no Covid 19, but given the circumstances, I have no complaints. I’m very thankful, actually, to all of the people, all of you out there who have continued to support me via books and supplements.
Those are the only ways I really make money. Oh, there’s also my VIP coaching, but that’s under the banner of Legion. So basically I have my books and I have. That’s it. That’s how I make money. And so again, if you have bought a book or bought a supplement or simply told someone about my books or my supplements or just my podcast or articles, if you’ve brought anyone into my orbit, into my ecosystem, or given me any money for anything over the last several months, I really am appreciative.
Thank you very much. Your support and to prove it in the form of actions and not just words. I have a lot of new stuff coming. I have, of course new podcasts and I have new articles, and I have new books that are on the way. I have new products for Legion. Anyway, in True Mike Matthews fashion, that was a tangent that turned into something that has nothing to do with today’s episode, but I do wanna wrap up that digression.
By again saying thank you so much. If you have supported me in any way over the last several months, it really does mean a lot to me, and I have a lot more goodies on the way for you. So with all of that behind us, let’s get to the meat and potatoes, shall we? Is it safe to go to the gym? Should gyms be opening right.
Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, Stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef.
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That’s B Y legion.com/audible and sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence based strategies for losing fat, building muscle and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.
Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for women, and the shredded chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipe. All right, here we go. Covid 19, The Global Pandemic, while the worst of it seems to be behind us, hopefully, and most countries have begun reopening, many restrictions still remain in place all around the world.
There, of course, still is social distancing and mask wearing. Occupancy limitations and border closures, all these things are still in effect. And the question on everyone’s mind at this point is when can we open up completely? What will it really take to get back to some semblance of normalcy? Bill Gates said over on his gates notes, Personal blog essentially, that we will not see a return to normal until nearly every person on the planet has been vaccinated for Covid 19.
And I just saw a headline today where he was saying that it’s going to have to be a multi-dose vaccine. This is not just gonna be a single dose, and there may be many doses that are needed over time. And if you look at the trial results, the AstraZeneca results and the mode. Results. I wouldn’t be signing up for that vaccine just yet.
Personally, you had a lot of people with very adverse reactions, and I believe in one of the trials when it was multi-dose, in the second dose, it was pretty much everybody had serious negative reactions. And that’s not me taking an anti-vax position. That’s me just looking out for my own personal health because there is a danger.
Connected with vaccination. There always is, and I understand it’s a cost benefits calculation, really. I do get that. But in the case of this vaccine, let’s not forget this will be the fastest vaccine ever developed. It will be the first successful coronavirus vaccine ever developed. If they can do it, if they can make it successful, and it will be the first M rna.
Vaccine ever developed. Now, I’m not saying that scientists can’t pull it off. I really hope they can, but I’m skeptical and I’m not the only one. I listened to an interview with a guy named Paul Offit, for example, who is a professor who is someone who has developed several vaccines and. He was expressing the same concerns.
This is a very mainstream, credentialed guy who was saying he just couldn’t see how it’s possible to create a safe vaccine for this virus in the 18 months that we were hearing at the time of the interview. And there are people out there, like the team from Oxford, they came out around the same time, maybe a little bit before or after, and they were.
Six months, and I saw a headline a couple of weeks ago where they doubled down on that and they were saying that by the end of the year, they may have a vaccine for this thing ready. Anyway, we will see where this whole vaccine situation goes and fingers and toes crossed so that it goes well, that scientists can figure it out and they can somehow develop a very effective and very safe vaccine that can be rolled out widely and that will just put an end to the.
Ordeal. I am totally fine with that happening. Intel Venn, though we have to deal with reality as it is and not as we wish it were. And that means lockdowns and social distancing and masking, so forth. Now, the original goal of all of this, probably remember, was to flatten the curve, right to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by a torrent of Covid 19 cases.
That threat never even began to materialize in many places of the country. For example, New York City was hit hard, one of the hardest hit areas in the entire United States, and there hospitals reached about 85% capacity and intensive care units hit about 90% capacity during the worst phase. The first wave, which was high, yes, but not overflowing like the computer models were predicting even with the lockdown measures in place.
Again, remember, the purpose of the lockdown was to take us from what we were being told was going to be a collapse of our healthcare system because of the surge of. Patients to something that is chaotic and is grim, but is manageable. And in many places of the country, the numbers that were predicted with the lockdown and that were used to help sell, the whole idea of locking down didn’t even nearly come to pass.
So take. For example, where back in April, about 75% of the ventilators in the state in which I live were unused, and nearly 6,000 hospital beds were unused or empty, and that number is likely much lower now. In Virginia here, instead of increasing demand for doctors, the pandemic plus the lockdown resulted in thousands of healthcare workers being laid off due to a reduction in non covid 19 related visits without enough Covid 19 patients to make up for.
The lost revenue. What’s more the CDC reports that people exhibiting flu or covid 19, like symptoms made up about 7% of total hospitalizations in March, and now it’s under 2%. So my point is the curve was flattened. I think we accomplished the objective. We may have over accomplished it. We may have taken.
Harsher measures than we needed to accomplish it, but we did accomplish that. Now though, it appears the goal posts are moving because the target was flattened the curve and now it’s find a cure and that’s great. I want a cure . I want minimally. Can we get some effective treatments? If we can’t get the vaccine, maybe we can get to some effective treatments and.
It would be awesome if we found some effective treatments with known quantities, with drugs that we have a lot of research on and that we understand well, as opposed to, again, a, what you almost could say is an experimental, rushed vaccine that is a very unknown quantity, but getting there, finding a cure one way or another, it might take years.
And so we are in a predicament. And I guess our creator. A sense of humor, right? Because as if we don’t already have enough to be divided over in this current year, we now have two distinct camps regarding the virus. On one hand, many people want to begin strategically reopening certain places of the country where elsewhere in the world.
This is an ongoing discussion in Europe as well, for example, based on the available evidence and doing a careful cost benefit analysis of what that would really mean for the. People, the populations, and then you have people on the other side of the fence who think that any further reopenings of any kind would be reckless.
And we have to find a cure first. We have to concoct a vaccine. We have to all but eradicate this virus before we can even begin to think about a return to normal, that this is the new normal. For the foreseeable future, so strap your helmet on real tight and get ready for a rough ride. Who’s right? I don’t know.
Your guess is as good as mine, but what I can do is tell you about a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Oslo that offers some guidance and some insights into what happen if countries were to open our beloved. Gyms, let’s just focus on the gyms. Okay, . Now, before we look at what these researchers discovered, let’s quickly examine a more fundamental question that relates to Reopenings on the whole, and this is a question that is polarizing and is going to be triggering to some people, but I don’t care.
I don’t agree that we shouldn’t be able to ask questions and come to. Own conclusions based on the information we have, and then be open to revising our conclusions based on new information that we get. So the question is, has the cure become worse than the disease? Now, the authors of this study out of the University of Oslo, Open the paper by sharing a fact that has been largely lost in the maelstrom of panic inducing pearl clutching headlines about the pandemic, and that is that there are very negative consequences to maintaining this new normal, this status quo.
We do need to recognize that closing gyms, parks, and recreation, Centers significantly limits people’s ability to stay active. For example, which research shows not only helps protect against viral infections like Covid 19, but also reduces the risk of just about every other disease and dysfunction you can think of.
Furthermore, there’s already evidence. That the lockdowns have increased childhood obesity, which is a condition that is likely to get worse as poor exercise and diet habits learned during this period become ingrained and then manifest themselves over the months, and hopefully not, but in some cases years to come.
Also, let’s face it, many people struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle under the best of circumstances. They struggle to exercise regularly and. Eat and to get enough sleep. And what do you think the lockdown has done? Too many of those people I know, because I hear from them every day. It has greatly magnified their problems.
It has made it much harder for them and in some cases they’ve just given up together to exercise and to. Eat and to do the things that they really want to do to take care of themselves, but the magnitude of the situation is such that it makes it extremely difficult for them, and in many cases it has also.
Magnified negative habits. So it has made it a lot harder for them to maintain good habits, and it has encouraged many of them to turn up the volume on their bad habits or replace good habits with bad habits. And that is in, again, in many cases, causing a rapid decline in health. But wait, there’s more because.
Domestic violence has jumped 30 to 50% in some countries during the lockdown, such as France and Brazil, and scientists have noted a surge in substance abuse and even suicide since all this has begun. Preliminary research conducted by scientists at the University of Bath shows lockdowns are associated with a higher risk of anxiety and depression, and particularly among young children based on their statistical models.
The researchers found that lockdowns triple. The risk of depression among kids, and that really sucks to think about because we know that depression is associated with worse grades in school, with substance abuse, with suicide, criminal behavior, and I’m talking about later in life too. So it’s really not a leap to say that we may be dealing with negative ripple effects from lockdowns for decades now, yet another problem.
Stemming from the lockdowns that we are dealing with that is more immediate in nature, is the uptick that it has produced in delayed or just indefinitely postponed preventative checkups and emergency medical treatments. For example, a recent study that was conducted by scientists from the European Society of Cardiology estimates that about half of the people who have suffered heart attacks during lockdowns have avoided going to the hospital due to fear.
Catching Covid 19. Other research shows that most new cases of cancer are not being diagnosed right now. Almost half of chemotherapy patients have missed treatments due to lockdowns and organ transplants have declined about 50% since the lockdowns have gone into effect. We haven’t even talked about the economy yet because there are staggering economic consequences to what is happening.
Don’t be fooled by the stunk market. The stuss are up, but the economy is. Not doing well. And this is something that many people have downplayed and they often say that people’s lives are more important than the economy. Let’s not even talk about it. And to even bring up the economy is callous. And I completely disagree.
People’s lives depend on the economy. Many millions of people depend on a functioning economy. And the longer. Lockdowns drag on the worst the economy is going to get. And many experts are predicting that the global response to Covid 19 may end up taking more lives than the virus itself. For example, a study conducted by Dr.
Ralph Keeney at the University of Southern California shows that on average every 10 to 24 million of lost income in the United States translates to about. Additional death. Now, we don’t know how much income has been lost so far due to the lockdowns, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 30 million people, 30 million people were unemployed during the worst of the.
Pandemic and many people are going to struggle to find work again, as payrolls have been slashed in many companies to defray costs and in some cases have evaporated all together, many businesses are gone for good. And just to zoom out for a second and put the global economic impact into perspective, experts at the University of Cambridge have estimated that the lockdowns are going to cost the world economy between 30 and.
Trillion dollars with a tea, and that could mean many thousands of additional deaths. So I do think it’s fair to ask the question, has the cure become worse than the disease, or is it soon going to be worse than the disease? So at this point, more or less, everyone agrees that steps should be taken to protect the people who are most vulner.
We definitely do not want the elderly or the infirm to be around this virus, but should the rest of us be able to live more freely or should we all be under the same restrictions? And that brings me back to this Oslo study that I mentioned earlier where researchers wanted to learn whether reopening gyms, just gyms would increase the risk of catching.
Or spreading the virus. So what did the researchers do in this study? What they did is they recruited 3,928 men and women aged 18 to 64 in the city of Oslo, Norway, who used to go to the gym before the lockdown went into effect. On March 12th of this year, and then the researchers split these people evenly into two groups.
So you had a gym group, and these are people who could go back to the gym and just work out as they normally would. And then you had the lockdown group, and these are people who stayed home and just went about their new normal routines at home. So for two weeks, the gym group was given access to five gyms in Oslo and the lockdown group, they stayed home and participants in both groups were tested for covid 19 before and after the study, which began the last week of May, and lasted until about the second week of.
June. Now, the participants were also instructed on how to take self-administered Covid 19 tests, and if they weren’t comfortable doing that, then the researchers tested them Now to avoid putting vulnerable people at risk. What the scientists did is they only recruited people who are considered to have a very low risk of developing covid 19 symptoms.
We have enough data on the disease now to understand that someone like me, I’m 36 years old, I have no health conditions. And I’m very healthy exercise regularly, have a strong immune system. I have a very low risk of landing in the hospital or dying from the disease so low that it is essentially irrelevant to me personally.
I wouldn’t wanna spread the virus around and give it to others, but I could care less at this point person. Based on the data. And so back to the study, the participants, of course, they could still get the virus. It’s not that they are immune to it, They could get it, but the chances of them, again, developing life threatening symptoms or any at all, were very low.
The five gyms that were involved in the study were. Only open to the study participants and they implemented strict hygiene procedures such as avoiding handshakes and bodily contact and social distancing while weightlifting, six feet when lifting at about 12 feet when doing high intensity cardio or fitness classes because of the heavy breathing.
And the gym’s also disinfected all equipment after each use. And it’s also worth noting that the participants were not required to wear masks at the gym. And some of them may have worn masks anyway, but I would say it’s unlikely in that they were not told to wear masks. And if anyone listening has tried to work out with a mask, you know how uncomfortable it is to do that while you’re training.
All right. So that’s the design of the study. What happened? Although the researchers recruited almost 4,000 people, only about 3000 actually took the tests and stayed on board until the end, and that’s totally normal. In pretty much every study you’re gonna have a certain percentage of participants are gonna drop out, and especially when you have a lot of.
Participants. If it’s a very small study with five, maybe you can get all five to finish the way you want, but when you have thousands, you’re not gonna get 100% compliance. It’s just not gonna happen anyway. Based on the average infection rate among the population of Oslo, what the researchers predicted is that about 1%.
Of the participants would contract covid 19, so about 30 people. That’s what they were expecting to see. The actual number was one person. One person tested positive for Covid 19 in the gym group, and no one zero tested positive in the lockdown group. So that’s an infection rate of point. Zero three, 3%.
What’s more of the one person who did test positive in the gym group? They actually didn’t get it from the gym. In fact, the guy, he didn’t even go to the gym until the day he was tested for Covid 19. It turns out he was in contact with two colleagues at work who had the virus, and that’s where he probably picked it up.
He had it when he reported to go to the. And he also didn’t experience any symptoms, by the way. He didn’t even know that he had it. So just to be clear here, nobody in the gym group got the disease by going to the gym. There was one person who got it and they suspect he got it from coworkers because he arrived to his first workout, to his first gym visit.
He arrived. Positive, and just in case you’re wondering, the scientists, they wanted to ensure that they identified any potential source of infection. So they also tested 90% of the staff working at the gyms during the study, and none of them tested. Positive either. Finally, the researchers also looked at data from Covid 19 tests on Oslo, residents who were not involved in the study during that same period of time.
And in the first week of testing, 1.1% of these people tested positive, and in the second week, three point. 6% tested positive. So what that means is not only did nobody get the disease from going to the gym, the risk of infection was significantly lower in the people going to the gym than it was for just the average population of Oslo.
As the researchers concluded, When gym goers were provided good hygiene and social distancing measures, there was no increased COVID 19 spread at training facilities. Remember two, that none of these people were required to wear masks. So it’s hard to argue that wearing a mask in the gym is extremely important.
It’s hard to argue that it’s extremely. Important at all. And if you don’t believe me, head over to the New England Journal of Medicine and checkout an article that was published on May 21st this year, of course, called Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid 19 era. And you can read a short, easy to understand.
Perspective piece from a team of Harvard researchers, and here, I’ll just quote from it real quick. We know that wearing a mask outside healthcare facilities offers little if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to covid 19 as face to face contact within six feet with a patient.
With symptomatic Covid 19, that is sustained for at least a few minutes and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes. The chance of catching Covid 19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.
So anyway, I recommend you just read the article for yourself as well as their follow up because they received a lot of criticism for this. And they responded to that criticism, explaining their position, really just reiterating what was in the original piece because they are not against wearing masks.
They’re not saying that nobody should wear masks. They were simply summarizing the current weight of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of masking. And in case you’re wondering, I have no problem. Wearing a mask, if I go out again, I’m not concerned about catching the virus myself, of course, I wouldn’t want to give it to others.
And even if I understand that a mask isn’t likely to make much of a difference in terms of giving it to others, if all it does is give people some peace of mind. I’ll wear a mask for that reason alone because a lot of people have a lot of shit to deal with right now, and I don’t want to make someone’s day even a little bit worse because I’m not wearing a mask.
And because the TV told them that if someone’s not wearing a mask, they are a grandma killer and science denier. Who should. Ashamed. They should be ashamed to show their arrogant bear and almost certainly white face in public. And so while I understand all of that is nonsense, I still care enough about the wellbeing of others.
To wear the mask. It’s not that big of a deal. Now, if we fast forward to a year from now and we’re still being told to wear masks everywhere we go, you dear listener, who may not agree with a lot of what I’ve been saying on this podcast. We may find common ground in not wanting to wear masks anymore, but as of right now, whatever, it’s not that big of a deal.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, leaner, Stronger, and Thinni Leaner, Stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.
All right. Let’s get back on topic here. The gym. Is it safe? What does this Oslo study mean for you? Based on this preliminary study, and it is just one study, it’s fair to say that your risk of getting covid 19 from going to the gym is probably. Low. There is no evidence to the contrary. And this was a well designed study that was well executed and the findings were very clear.
What’s more, if you are in good shape, which many of you are, your risk of getting covid 19 already is very low. It’s minimal. And even if you do get it, chances are the data shows that your risk of experiencing. Any symptoms whatsoever, much less dying is so low that it’s virtually ni. For example, research conducted at the Scripps Research Translational Institute shows that about 40 to 45% of people who catch Covid 19 experience no symptoms, and that percentage is probably even higher.
Among healthy fit people because that study was not conducted with just healthy fit people. And what type of people go to the gym a lot? We have a lot of healthy fit people in gyms. Even if you just look at the general population, including the people who are overweight and who smoke and drink too much alcohol or have other health problems.
People under the age of 65 have about the same risk of dying from Covid 19 as they do from driving 10 to 80 miles per day. And yes, I have looked at the actuarial data that is accurate. And of course, if you were to only look at healthy people, the daily commuting is probably much more dangerous. Than Covid 19.
And if you look at the elderly even, who are certainly at a higher risk of developing severe covid 19 symptoms than people half their age, people like me, when you look into the data, what you find is that the major problems have been mainly. With elderly people who were already sick, not healthy, older people.
For instance, four out of five people who have been hospitalized for Covid 19 already had a severe preexisting health problem. And here in the United States, 45% of all covid 19 deaths have been among people living. Nursing homes, and that is not meant to trivialize those people’s lives. Not at all. I’m simply making a point regarding health and how big of a difference that makes, and that certainly includes elderly people.
We know, for example, that healthy elderly people are much less likely to die from this disease then. Infirm counterparts. Now, at this point, you may be thinking that I have made some good points and I seem to have done my research, but shouldn’t we just stay safe? Isn’t it better to be safe rather than sorry, to that, I say I do understand the sentiment. I really do. But consider a few things. One, and this first one. Come as a surprise to you, depending on where you get your information, but there’s actually very little evidence at this point that the lockdowns are significantly reducing the spread of the virus.
For example, a recent study that was conducted by scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University found no relationship between the amount of time a country spent in lockdown. The spread of Covid 19. Shutting down businesses and forcing people to stay home did not significantly reduce the spread of the virus.
I just read another paper about this a couple of days ago that showed that many people are at a higher risk of infection at home. Than out and about because of the close proximity and the prolonged exposures to other people at home. Remember, those were a couple of the key points that the Harvard researchers touched on in their perspective piece.
Something else to consider regarding Jim shutdowns is maintaining the status quo, maintaining this new normal. Not very safe or healthy for all of the reasons that I’ve been talking about. The psychological and medical and economic costs of what we’re going through right now are astronomically high, and they have already likely resulted in thousands.
Of additional deaths. Third, as the study on the Oslo gym goers shows us that reopening gyms is probably not going to increase the spread of the virus if the same simple protocols are used now, if your gym did not have people, Stay away from each other. Or if the people just refused to stay away from each other and if they were not willing to clean their equipment a few times per day and really just take basic precautions, okay, that could be a problem.
But me thinks that there would be about zero gym owners out there who would push back against those guidelines. They would gladly follow them. T if they could open their doors and operate their businesses. And then of course you have to take into account the many proven benefits of exercise and how getting a lot of people exercising would almost certainly be a net gain for them individually and for us collectively as a society.
Now, of course, you don’t have to be in a. To exercise, and I know again, firsthand from hearing from many people over the last several months, they are figuring out ways to work out and many of them are getting outside more than ever before, and that’s very healthy as well. So we don’t need gyms to be open to work out.
I’ve been working out at home since the beginning of the lockdown here in Virginia. There are gyms open, but I’m sticking with my home workouts for now because they’re just so convenient. It’s 6 34 right now. I’m wrapping up this podcast and then I’ll head upstairs and I’ll put some food on the stove, and then I’m gonna go do my workout and then eat after, no driving, no lost time to socializing, which I enjoy while I’m there doing it, but I also have a lot of work right now.
I have a lot of projects on my plate and every hour count. So before I sign off, I want to preemptively address criticism that is out there regarding this study and regarding some of the things that I’ve told you. Because as you can imagine when this paper was published, it did not take long for people to pile on and poke holes in it and downplay its findings and magnify its limitations.
Basically say This study doesn’t mean anything. It’s maybe not fake news, but it’s misleading and we should just ignore it. For example, in one article that was highly critical of the study, the author quoted several statisticians and doctors and other experts who did raise some valid concerns about. The results of the study and those concerns have been repeated elsewhere.
Now, of course, the author of this critical article chose not to quote any of the study authors or others who might have different opinions and who might be able to even answer some of the questions raised. No. You cherry pick experts and then you share their opinion. Of course, that’s journalism.
You didn’t know that. Anyway, the. Criticisms of the study are that you can’t generalize the results to other groups of people. And some people, including several of those quoted in this article, have claimed that because all of the participants were former gym goers, that means they were probably healthier than the average person, and therefore we can’t apply the results to those other groups.
People, and there’s some truth to that. That’s not entirely untrue. That was the point of the study to see how risky it would be for people to go back to the gym, go back to the gym. Those of us who were into it, we want to go back to it. And that’s something that many media outlets have made out to be an exceptionally dangerous endeavor that you are taking your health into your hands.
If you were to go back to the gym and. Yeah. No, not really, because again, this study, they didn’t just find that it wasn’t dangerous for healthy people to go back to the gym. It showed that their risk of spreading the disease to others was essentially zero. And keep in mind that the study authors were not.
Saying that they believed that everyone should just go to gyms now or that all businesses should reopen. They were very specific with their study design and with their conclusion. And while this is only one study, yes, that’s true. That doesn’t mean it is invalid or wrong, it just means. We now have some evidence that indicates that it is probably safe to go back to the gym and that’s the keyword to go back to the gym.
And ironically, one of the doctors quoted in this critical article actually said as much, she said that the people who are most like. Me to go back to the gym are probably at a much lower risk of getting covid 19 than the average person, which then of course contradicts the article and supports the study.
Another criticism leveled at this study and at anyone using it, To indicate that maybe it is safe for many of us to go back to the gym is that the overall rate of Covid 19 in Norway is fairly low compared to most other countries. So we just can’t apply any results seen there to other places. And again, there is some truth here because Norway does have a relatively low rate of Covid 19 transmission, but it doesn’t change the fact that this study suggests that reopening gyms will not raise the rate of transmission.
See, that’s the key. That’s great for them. They’ve had a low rate, but what the authors of this paper wanted to investigate is would opening gyms, Things worse for them. So if reopening gyms really did pose the risk to society that some people would have you believe, you would expect Jim goers to at least have an equal or a higher risk of catching and spreading the disease than just the general public.
As you know in this study, the opposite was true. The people who went back to the gym were just as safe as those who stayed home. The authors of the study also pointed out that several US states, including Maine, New Jersey and Massachusetts, had similar low rates of Covid 19 infections as Oslo did during that study period.
So it. Is reasonable to expect similar results from reopening gyms in at least similar places. Right now, one valid criticism of not the study per se, but giving the study too much credence is that it is still under peer review. It’s still under undergoing the process of being published. So that means that other scientists are now looking into the.
Design and the execution and the data, and ensuring that everything is kosher. And oftentimes in peer review, minor errors are found and minor corrections are made. But at this point, the results are so stark that it’s really just a question of, is this real or is this completely fake? And we have no reason.
Think that it’s fake. We can review the design, we can review the methodology. We can’t access all of the data like the peer reviewers can. But from what we can tell, this was good research. This was a high quality study and we should give some weight to its finding, and I’ll go as far as saying this, if it comes out that the researchers manipulated data or faked data, and a lot of people were getting.
Did in the gym going group, and the researchers tried to cover it up and paint a false picture. If that’s what comes of all of this, the first person to point it out to me, you can email me, [email protected]. First person gets $5,000 cash. I will eat every word of this podcast and crap out gold coins into your bank account.
All right to quickly summarize everything we’ve discussed here, gyms are reopening. Many people are concerned this is a bad idea, and they don’t want to go back to the gym themselves because they’re afraid that it is too risky and they don’t want other people going to the gym and potentially increasing the infection rate.
And for months now, Since March, the media has been feeding us articles and podcasts and live newscasts and videos. From the proverbial fire hose, right? That the lockdowns are saving lives and that reopening. Anything poses an imminent threat to all of us and that your risk of catching Covid 19 from pretty much anything other than just staying inside.
Certainly going to the gym is very high. According to this carefully designed and well executed study conducted by scientists at the University of. Oslo that does not appear to be true. At least the gym part does not appear to be true. None of the people who went back to the gym contracted the disease from the gym.
Remember, there was one person who arrived to his first gym session positive, and the scientists think that he got it from coworkers who. Positive. And so then these gym goers, not only did none of them get the disease going to the gym, the researchers also found that their risk of catching the virus was significantly lower than the rest of the population.
So the question of is it safe to go back to the gym according to this study as well as. A lot of other research that I have discussed in this podcast. I think it’s fair to say that the weight of the evidence suggests that if you are under the age of 65, if you are in good health, if you are not overweight, and if you are willing to follow, really it’s just common sense measures like social distancing and disinfecting your workout equipment, then the answer is, yeah, it is probably safe to go back to the.
All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger.
Healthier and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com, just muscle or life.com and share your.
On how I can do this better. I read everything myself and I’m always looking or constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com. And. That’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode and I hope to hear from you soon.
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