Exercise is one thing we're allowed to leave our homes to do – but an Australian doctor has urged people to "steer clear" of runners for good reasons.

There are only a handful of reasons we are allowed to leave our homes – one of them being exercise.

With no gyms open or group workout sessions allowed, many people are turning to running to get their permitted dose of daily exercise.

But are joggers putting those they pass in the street at risk?


As more and more people pound the pavements, and some failing to upkeep social distancing requirements between others while doing so, it's a question being asked.

"We need to get a grip of the Joggers and runners. If infected they are vectors for the virus," one person wrote on Twitter.

Others expressed similar thoughts and fears.

Journalist and medical professional Dr Norman Swan agreed, explaining on Australia's ABC's Coronacast that he "steers clear" of runners because of the alarming levels of risky body secretions.

"If joggers invade your personal space they are flicking whatever secretions they've got," he said.

While he wasn't sure if coronavirus had been found in sweat just yet, he said it has been located in stools and other bodily fluids, so he suggests avoiding contact with sweat too.

However his biggest concern when it came to runners who don't adhere to social distancing isn't the sweat – it's their breath.

"Sweat isn't the only secretion you emit when you're in physical exertion jogging down the road," he said.


"As you're breathing up and breathing fast, if you've got virus there you are more likely to be aerosolising it," Dr Swan added.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"When I'm out running I steer clear of other people and I certainly steer clear of runners coming towards me because these in a sense project that bigger tidal volume, that bigger depth of breathing and rapid breathing, if they had Covid-19 then they could actually be spraying it out more than normal."

Amy Treakle, an infectious disease specialist with the Polyclinic in Seattle, issued another warning over a habit many joggers have – spitting.

"Covid-19 is spread by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and transmission may occur when these droplets enter the mouths, noses or eyes of people who are nearby," she told fitness publication Bicyling.

"Spit contains saliva but could also contain sputum from the lungs or drainage from the posterior nasopharynx."

Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, issued a helpful trick for runners to help keep their distance, saying you need roughly the length of two standard supermarket trolleys between you.