On Thursday, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced several new public health orders as case numbers in the province continue to climb.
One of the new requirements is that all businesses, recreation centres, or other organizations that offer spin classes, hot yoga, and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to immediately suspend those activities.
It seems simple on the surface, but on Friday, people in the yoga industry, like Natalie Wright, owner of One Yoga Victoria, have questions.
“Within the yoga community we consider hot yoga to be between 38-40 degrees Celsius and our room is at 30 degrees, so we’re just not sure where we fall within that category and what the provincial health office deems hot yoga,” said Wright who has suspended all classes until she receives confirmation.
An order making masks mandatory in all inside public spaces was also put in place. This will include in gyms and other fitness facilities. But what’s not yet clear is if they will need to be worn at all times during a workout.
“We’re just trying to determine some specifics around working out in areas where we have space between equipment, a six-foot radar. At this point, mandatory wearing masks in all areas and were waiting for clarification from VIHA [Island Health] and whether the mask can be removed in those spaces,” aid the owner of Anytime Fitness McKenzie Jaret Andrews
While questions still loom around the enforcement of the orders, experts say it’s clear that activities like hot yoga, spin class and HIIT training drastically elevate both your oxygen input and outputs and create a high-risk environment for transmission when done in a group setting.
“The breaths per minute can go up to 40 to 60 to even 70 breaths per minute. And if you start to extrapolate that into a spin class or a hot yoga class and let’s say it’s an hour, for one person that could be anywhere from 5,000 litres to 8,500 litres in that hour that they are blowing into that class,” said Lynneth Stuart-Hill from the University of Victoria School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education.
Gyms can still offer individual workouts, personal training and lower intensity group sessions.
The new orders will remain in place until at least Dec. 7.