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Jogging in winter is not dangerous, as long as you dress for the weather: Dr Chipamaunga

This week Zimbabwe Digital News caught up with Sport and Wellness Practitioner Dr Taurai Chipamaunga and spoke to him about fitness, winter and life as it happens through Covid-19.

This is what he said.

Dr Chipamaunga thank you for joining is at Zimbabwe Digital News.

1. How are you keeping fit during this period with lockdown and restrictions on movement

For me as a Sport and Wellness Practitioner, I practice what I preach, so I have not stopped keeping fit during the lockdown period. It has given me more time I did not have for my fitness. I enjoy balancing jogging and gym sessions.

2. Are you more of a weights and indoor workout person, or you prefer to go out there and run?

I try to balance my cardio workout and strength exercises, So I have at least two 10km jogs a week outdoor and at least three indoor gym sessions in my little home gym. For the gym session I first do at least 15-20 minutes on treadmill and then do 30-45 minutes whole body exercises with light weights. Winter time I mainly do indoor cause of weather and shorter day times. I spend more time on the treadmill – at least an hour to hour and half – twice a week.

3. How has Covid-19 changed the way humans live?

I think humans now must pay more attention to their health and lifestyle issues besides politics and money. We need to invest more in our personal health and community health especially in Africa and not leave our governments to do it for us.

4. There is a lot that is made out of runners running with a mask? Is this a case of the law being at odds with people who are just trying to keep fit?

If you are running in a very uncrowded place or at a time of day when it will be easy to avoid coming within 2m of other persons, and you are either running alone or only accompanied by members of your household (with whom you are sheltering in place), then I think the risks of viral transmission are so exceedingly low that it would be ethically permissible not to wear a mask.

If – however – you are running at a peak time or in a crowded area in which the likelihood is significant that you will come within 2m of others (whether runners or pedestrians), or if you plan to run with persons who are not current residents of your household, then it is best to wear a mask.

I realise this will diminish some of the pleasure in the experience of running, but the balance tips under these conditions such that your ethical duties to protect others and to contribute to the common good outweigh your legitimate interest in making running pleasurable.

If you find wearing a mask while running insufferable, then you’ll have to find a safe time or a safe place to run. That might mean getting up earlier. Or you could decide to stop running outdoors and purchase an exercise machine. As a doctor I do want you to keep exercising, but I want you to do so in a way that is safe for others during this pandemic.

5. This word … winter: How should runners adjust to the dropping temperatures?

Jogging in winter is not dangerous, as long as you dress for the weather and warm up and warm down properly. When dressing to run in the cold, remember that once you get moving, your body heats up fast, which could result in overheating if you’re bundled up.

Layering properly will help regulate your body temperature and keep risk of cold-related illnesses like hypothermia at bay.

The opposite is also true: Once you stop running, you will cool down very quickly, so be prepared to get out of those wet clothes immediately upon finishing your run. It’s always wise to bring a change of dry clothes to put on as soon as you finish your run or to jump into a warm shower if readily available.

When stocking up for the winter season, here are a few essentials you should fill your drawers with:
• Running tights or pants
• Long-sleeve tech shirts (wool or poly blend) to use as a base layer (depending upon winter temperatures in your area, you may need to invest in both a medium-weight and a heavy-weight base layer shirt)
• Running gloves or mittens
• Headband or hat
• A windproof running jacket
• Running socks (tech fabric or wool blend)

6. There is a lot of activity with the Brawlers who are posting their times and challenges on the group. What are you picking up from those activities?

I see lots of determined, focused and lots of encouragements among the brawlers in the group. I also see united brawlers who are keeping fit and great socializing, showing lots of maturity in the brawler’s family. I hope they all pass on these positive attitudes to their families and business.

7. Safety precautions when you are running?

When running, you should always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself. It’s easy to become so focused on your run that you stop paying attention to what’s happening around you. When you’re preoccupied, you make yourself an easy target for an attacker or thief.

Some for tips for the runners: Recruit a friend, jog in a familiar area but vary your routes. Avoid jogging in secluded areas or at night. If you do run after dark, do so in well-lit and populated areas and consider buying reflective running gear or a runner’s light so that you’re highly visible to traffic.

Face oncoming traffic, carry your phone and your ID.

If you suspect you’re being followed, call the police immediately and find a safe place to wait for them to arrive. Also wear bright colored clothing to improve your visibility, and carry a whistle or shrill alarm to summon help if needed.

Lastly take a key with you when you jog, don’t leave your house unlocked.

8. Does social distancing apply when you are running. 4 to 6 metres in motion between you and the next runner?

Between 2-3m is good enough.

9. The international marathon season? Surely it has been disrupted beyond measure?

Definitely at some point all sports will return to normal including marathons. Future in all marathons and big tournaments is still bright although delayed.

10. In the main, Covid-19 is an airborne disease, right? It means runners should not run where others have just run moments before?

Covid-19 is a respiratory droplet infection that requires close contact, jogging is low risk and strongly recommended in the overall health of an individual.

11. Are you a solo runner, or you prefer teams?

It all depends sometimes am alone, and on other occasions am with my wife or kids.

12. Concluding remarks

Nothing much just to say well done brawlers for such a healthy initiative and let’s keep encouraging each other and recruit more of our mates and family. Stay healthy, eat healthy and keep moving. Little is better than none.


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