Do I Need To Clean My Watch and Shoes After a Run?

Slowing the spread of coronavirus is at the top your mind right now with everything you do. You’re running alone, working out at home, maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other runners or people you might encounter outside, and staying home if you feel sick in order not not spread the virus to others.

And while logging your runs in Strava might be the new way you’re connecting with other runners from afar, with group running a no-go right now, have you given thought to how often you should clean your fitness tracker and phone? And we know you’re scrubbing your hands the minute you get in the door after a run and washing your sweaty clothes as normal, but what should you do with your shoes?

A new analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine found the virus can remain viable in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that airborne transmission may be possible in certain circumstances, such as during procedures in hospitals, this is different than droplet transmission, which happens when a person is in close contact (within one meter) with someone who has respiratory symptoms. So you shouldn’t be worried about going outside for a solo run.

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But because the virus can last for a while on surfaces, you may risk coming in contact with the virus (or other germs) on your tracker or phone if your device happens to come in contact with droplets containing the virus. If you then touch your tracker and later your face, you are at risk of infection.

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While you should be cleaning your phone and fitness tracker often, as they can already harbor germs and get generally gross and gunky from sweat, you probably didn’t before. But now is a good time to start. Here’s how:

Apple Watch



As for keeping your shoes outside after a run or tossing your clothes in the wash? Washing your clothes (and drying them on high heat if possible) and ditching your shoes on your porch postrun is something David Nieman, D.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus would recommend until we learn more (especially if you’ve been running in crowded areas).

However, as Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas explains, there’s not much risk of catching coronavirus from your shoes after a run, as you were not wearing them in the hospital while you took care of sick patients. You can keep doing whatever you normally would do with your shoes after a run. If it gives you some peace of mind to leave them outside, there is nothing wrong with that.

Overall, there are no special precautions you need to take after returning from a run. The risk is not in being outside, the risk is in being close to other people, Labus says. Most important, remember to thoroughly wash your hands when you get back from a run, avoid touching your face and traffic buttons, and run alone.

From: Runner’s World US

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