Working Out During a Pandemic?

Dear Aristotle,

Working out and staying healthy are huge parts of my life, and I really want to get back into the gym. I don’t want to get other people sick, but I want to get back into a workout routine because my mental health is negatively impacted. Is it okay for me to go to the gym?



Dear Corey,

Part of being a good person is taking care of your mental and physical health. After all, if our mental and physical health suffer, then we cannot fully participate in the community, and we cannot put our best foot forward in our relationships with loved ones. Of course, being virtuous members of our community and behaving our best in interpersonal relationships is key to a virtuous life. Even more, during a pandemic healthcare resources are limited, so if you fail to take care of yourself you might end up using limited healthcare resources that could otherwise go to those in need because of COVID. 

The above being said, sometimes the circumstances do not leave us with great options. It is possible that bad luck could force us to choose between the lesser of two evils, so to speak. It is also important that as we work to develop our character, we use creativity of thought and practical wisdom. Practical wisdom is the ability to look at the many factors involved in our personal situation, take them all into accountant, and act in the best ethical way possible. 

Re exercise, mental and physical health, and COVID-19, one relevant question is how risky is the given behavior you are considering? Given what we know about COVID, working out indoors in an enclosed space where persons cannot help but breath heavily seems pretty high risk. So the first thing to do is consider whether there is an alternative way to exercise that is less risky. Can you find something to do outdoors, do an exercise video at home, or even set up a small exercise studio in your home? There is often persons giving away free exercise equipment on Craigslist, for instance. Doing the right thing in your situation will require using creativity skills and thinking outside the box, so to speak. Within a vaccine, perhaps gyms will be safe again soon. But if they are not safe



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