Racquetball and COVID 19: Getting Back Into Shape After Lockdown
Although the COVID-19 crisis won’t be over for some time, new data and research is being collected every day about how it spreads and the measures that can be taken to stay as safe as possible while resuming some of our normal activities. One activity that many people have been forced to scale back has been exercise.
Working out is a practice that is most effective when it is done regularly. But with so many gyms shut down due to safety concerns, most people’s physical routines have been interrupted – if not stopped entirely.
The silver lining to this crisis and the interruptions it has brought is that now is the perfect time to form a plan to make your workouts even more effective—by taking up racquetball.
A True Full-Body Workout
Racquetball is a game that strengthens your muscles, bones, heart, and stamina. The quick changes in direction, bursts of speed, and hand-eye coordination required to play the game is second to none. Racquetball also requires great focus since the ball isn’t always coming at you from one direction—so it’s a great mental workout, too.
By its very nature, the sport of racquetball provides a high-intensity workout. In an hour-long game, a player can run as far as two miles going left, right, forward, and back on the court and burn between 600 and 800 calories. And when you play regularly, that kind of weight-bearing, aerobic workout can work wonders for your cardiovascular health as well as helping you maintain tone and flexibility in your muscles. Racquetball is also a great way to raise your endorphins which helps relieve stress.
There’s also the social aspect of racquetball. As shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, and lockdown orders have been put into place for the greater good, many people have noticed just how much we take personal interactions—even those with strangers—for granted. Racquetball allows you the opportunity to be around another person. Whether that person lives with you, is a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or is someone you’ve been matched up with at your local court, getting to play with someone outside the context of your own home is a pleasure that very few of us will underestimate for a good long while.
Staying Safe while Keeping Fit
It’s important to note that you should follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and your state’s government before heading out to get a match in. If gyms and health clubs in your area haven’t been cleared to open yet, don’t try to force your way in. You can stay in playing shape by hitting a ball against a garage door or a similar surface to which you have access. Many tennis courts allow for socially distant activities and have practice walls that you can use.
It’s also important to remember that you should stay home if you have symptoms. There are asymptomatic carriers, but if you are showing symptoms you should absolutely not go out to play racquetball. Use common sense to protect the people around you and to help those people protect everyone around them.
- If you live somewhere that is allowing health clubs to operate and you want to get on the court, keep these things in mind:
- Protective goggles keep your eyes safe from racquetballs, but they can also keep them safe from yourself. Avoiding touching your face is extremely important to stem the spread of the virus.
- Don’t wipe your mouth or nose with any surface that may touch the ball. If you need to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow or sleeve. Do everything you can to keep particulates from your face away from the ball and away from your bare hands.
- Wear gloves. Many players only wear one glove while playing racquetball, but in this new climate, wearing gloves on both hands is advisable. Make sure they’ve been cleaned before any new game and are cleaned as soon as possible when you’re done. Again, you want to limit contact between the ball and your bare hands and limit contact between your hands and your face.
- Don’t share water bottles. Anything that you touch with your lips should stay away from anyone else’s face.
- Bring extra balls. This way you can switch out balls that you think may have gotten too close to your mouth. You can also make sure that each player is only serving with their own supply of balls, so neither of you needs to pick up a ball that has been touched by the other player.
- Keep abreast of the policies in your area. You may be required to play in a mask which requires better breath control, but is safer for everyone on the court. Keep a few masks with your gear so you can change it up if it gets too damp from sweat or your breath.
Use Your Best Judgment
Racquetball is an incredible sport and is one of the best workouts you can get. If you’re itching to get back on the court or if you want to see what this incredible game is all about for the first time, make sure you do so with caution and respect for the people around you. It may be awhile before things get back to normal, but by maintaining social distance, keeping things that shouldn’t go near your face where they belong, and prioritizing your and your opponent’s safety, you can get one step closer to regaining an active lifestyle.
Stay safe and serve that ball!