Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: After almost two months of being cooped up at home due to the movement control order (MCO), enforced since March 18, it must surely be exciting to be able to conduct leisure and sports activities outdoor following the relaxation of the order by the government.

But, until the authorities find a vaccine for Covid-19, it looks like everyone will have to adopt the new normal, including in leisure and sports activities, to help curb the spread of the virus.

As for now the government, having flattened the curve of the virus infection through the MCO, introduced the conditional MCO (CMCO) on May 4, with some flexibility for non-contact sports and exercise activities — like running, badminton, cycling and golf — to be carried out.

National Sports Institute (NSI) sports medicine expert Dr Jasmiza Khuzairi Jasme believes it’s the right move, saying fitness activities could boost body immunity and, by adhering to the stipulated SOP, also help to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.

He, however, stressed that there were a few things that the public needed to be wary of when exercising or training outdoor.

“If you are doing leisure activities outdoor, avoid crowded places, do it on your own or in a small group. Practice personal hygiene before and after exercising and try to avoid touching exercise equipment at public recreational parks.

“When running or jogging, always ensure you do not run too close to another person. Also, minimise your leisure time outdoor to one hour and head home straight after that and take a bath,” said Dr Jazmiza, who is the national football team doctor.

The former national rugby player also suggested that a social distance of between three metres and 10 metres be adopted during physical activities as “your body fluid (sweat) can splash further” during such exertions. 

“If you are still worried about being infected, then it’s best to exercise at home,” he explained, before urging athletes to be prepared to get used to disciplining themselves to the new normal, especially in terms of social distancing.

Meanwhile, PJ City FC striker Mohd Safee Sali advised the public not to take their health lightly and to comply with the rules on social distancing when training outdoor, saying “prevention is still better than cure”.

The 36-year-old former national football player noted that it was also possible for one to be emotionally affected by the MCO and CMCO, which is a new experience for everyone.

“So, apart from just exercising at home, I also try to create a healthy and positive atmosphere by spending time with my family and doing physical activities together. This keeps us in a positive mood,” he said. 

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Wellness and Counselling Unit senior lecturer Dr Abdul Rahman Ahmad Badayai, when contacted by Bernama recently, said Malaysians should adopt healthy eating habits, exercise at home and stay in contact with others via social media during the MCO.

This, he said, could help the public avoid having mental health issues due to worrying or having anxiety and fears about the effects of Covid-19 as well as the MCO.

Based on a Bernama survey throughout the week, the number of Malaysians doing outdoor activities, like running and cycling, was still lower compared to before the implementation of the MCO, especially at night. – Bernama