It’s safe to go back to the gym—if there’s little COVID-19 around, study suggests | Science

A gym in Redondo Beach, California, takes extreme measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission. A study in Norway suggests even with less stringent distancing, working out at the gym may be safe.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Wondering whether it’s safe to go back to the gym? Norwegian gymgoers may have some good news for you. A study on the risk of coronavirus transmission in Oslo found that people who went to a gym were no more likely to get infected, or sick, than people who didn’t. Norway has reopened its gyms based on the tentative results, which were published as a preprint yesterday and still need to go through peer review.

But some epidemiologists aren’t so sure. It’s possible that no one was infected at those Oslo gyms because there were very few COVID-19 cases in the city when the study was done—not because working up a sweat on the treadmill or lifting weights in the midst of a pandemic is safe.

So far, crucial decisions to reopen public spaces after lockdowns are being made on the basis of little evidence. Every child returning to school and every Zumba fan returning to class is taking part in a large, uncontrolled experiment. A much better approach is to carefully study the impact of each new step in reopening, argues Mette Kalager, a clinical…

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