How You Can Play Sports During the COVID-19 Pandemic

a basketball hoop

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic remains a far-fetched reality even almost a year after governments have imposed strict lockdowns and quarantine measures. Adhering to the so-called new normal can be challenging and exhausting. Even with medical developments like vaccines and advanced care for COVID-positive patients, people will still have to live with masks and social distancing for the long haul.

Working and studying from home has also led people to live a sedentary lifestyle. People are naturally social beings, and keeping them away from people and the outdoors can be a daunting task. People have turned to stress eating, excessive drinking, and unhealthy sleeping patterns as they cope with the stresses of being stuck indoors.

People need opportunities brought by sports and physical activities that are lacking as COVID-19 continues to plague the world. Small-scale and global sporting events like the Olympics and the Paralympics have been canceled to prevent virus exposure among sports fans. People have no choice but to support their favorite teams by watching telecasts and live streams and not in noisy arenas like it used to be.

Governments also have limited sporting events due to the pandemic. However, it should be acknowledged that sports and physical activities provide opportunities for better health through exercise. Sporting activities also encourage individuals and communities to build inclusive environments.

People, especially those who are advised to stay at home, are encouraged to perform physical activities. The World Health Organization recommends periodic exercise to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. A few minutes of light intensity movements like walking or stretching can make a difference.

There are low-risk activities like golf, running, and hiking that can be performed even without the help of a team. These are great, especially for people who want to be socially-distant without risking physical activity. Most of these sports are also done outdoors.

How about those who want to play sports with others? The rich and famous can afford to have residential bowling alleys, swimming pools, and basketball courts installed in their homes for their sporting activities. However, not everyone has the luxury of having separate spaces to perform these activities.

man holding a baseball bat

Planning sporting activities

Team sports can be done with proper planning and execution. However, there are many things to keep in mind when planning a sporting activity in this day and age. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when doing something that involves social interaction.

Making sure that everyone is safe should be a top priority when planning sporting activities. Here’s how you can plan a sporting activity with friends amid the threat of COVID-19.

What should be considered first is the volume of contact players will have with each other. For example, choosing two-on-two basketball games over wrestling is a wise choice because players are not required to be too close to each other.

Contact tracing and health declaration should also be imposed, even in small and friendly competitions. Even when a player is not experiencing symptoms during the game, they might be carriers of the virus. It is best to declare possible exposure to the virus before the game to ensure all players’ and attendees’ safety.

Another thing to be considered is the size of the teams who will be playing. Bigger teams like football or basketball with a complete slate of players will be hard to manage. Keeping the team size smaller can limit exposure to the virus.

The setup of the event should also be adherent to social distancing measures and health protocols. This means that games should start and end on time. The number of spectators and non-players should also be limited, and attendees should be required to wear masks at all times.

It is also recommended to do these sporting activities outdoors. However, if this is not feasible, event planners should opt for facilities that allow ventilation practices ensuring good air quality. Being careful with location and ventilation will lessen the risk of aerosol transmission of the virus.

The risk of getting the virus is always present in the current global situation. The only way one can be safe from the virus is to stay at home and avoid meeting people who are possible carriers of the virus. Hence, forgoing team sporting activities can be a hard choice to make.

Team sports will never be the same as they were before the pandemic. This is a disappointing reality for all who love sports. However, with the right planning and following health protocols, we can still enjoy a good game.

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