Is it safe to return to the gym? The quarantine has many people anxious and eager to start hitting the gym again but the fitness industry will be forever changed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
How do you maintain social distancing while also ensuring you get a proper workout?
Is it best to workout on your own or still take group training classes?
Do you wear a mask?
There are many concerns about how fitness centers and gyms can safely reopen without risking spreading the virus to their members and clientele.
There may be circumstances where the gym and fitness centers themselves cannot develop systems and processes to keep it's members safe so the responsibility falls onto you to keep yourself safe.
By following some simple rules and safety protocols suggested by infectious disease experts and abide by the CDC guidelines, we can greatly mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the gym.
1) IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME
This one should be very clear and obvious to follow strictly. If you are sick or are feeling ill then do the responsible thing and limit your interaction and contact with others. An actively sick person who is showing symptoms is more infectious and can spread the virus than asymptomatic persons, so please keep your germs to yourself and under quarantine.
2) IF YOU ARE AT RISK, STAY HOME
While the gym is typically a place that is inclusive of all demographics and age groups, however, if you find yourself to be a part of the population who is at risk to COVID-19, please limit your exposure to others as much as possible. Instead of going to the gym or fitness center, you can opt into exercising outdoors or at home where you can greatly mitigate your risk of infection.
3) WIPE DOWN THE EQUIPMENT BEFORE/AFTER USE
According to a study performed by Fit Rated on the cleanliness of fitness equipment, your gym's equipment is dirtier than a toilet seat. Yes, you read that right.
With this in mind, it is very important to practice proper hygiene and sanitation. While you can count on gyms and fitness centers to disinfect their equipment regularly from now on to give their members peace of mind, it is always best to take it into your own hands.
Carry a pack of disposable disinfection wipes or ask if the gym can provide you with some and wipe down the machine you intend to use and making sure to clean all of the major points of contact such as the seat and handles.
Does your gym regularly disinfect and sanitize their facility? Gym Tech Service can help provide the peace of mind that members seek. Find out how you can refer our disinfecting and sanitizing service to your gym and get an affiliate commission.
4) KEEP A DISTANCE OF 6 FEET OR MORE
You wouldn't want someone to be breathing down your neck while working out before this pandemic hit but now the boundaries of personal space are even more serious. A room full of sweaty people breathing heavily is bound to spread airborne pathogens so it would be wise to keep as far away from others as you can. Many gyms will be limiting the total number of people that can be in the facility at the same time as well as doing things such as blocking off every other cardio machine so it will be easier to keep the proper social distance.
5) IT MAY BE UNWISE TO WEAR A MASK WHILE WORKING OUT
A face mask is meant to prevent the wearer from spreading their own germs as well as from contracting airborne pathogens. It is recommended by the CDC to wear a mask when social distancing cannot be practiced which means that as long as you can stay a significant distance from others while working out, it is not necessary to wear a mask.
Doing strenuous physical activity while limiting your breathing capacity and depriving yourself of oxygen is detrimental to your health and will cause your body harm.
Wearing a mask can increase your CO2 levels which can lead to loss of consciousness. If you do intend to wear a face mask while working out a the gym, then it is best to go with a cloth mask covering that still allows you to breathe.
6) WASH YOUR HANDS AND DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE
Recently the CDC announced that surfaces are not thought to be a major path for transmission of Coronavirus, but that doesn't mean you do not have to be cautious of the potential risk. While constantly sanitizing your hands is harmful because it strips your skin of essential bacteria and oils, you should still regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. Also do not touch your face, mouth, or eyes unless your hands are clean to avoid the sensitive parts of exposure where the virus is most likely to enter your body.
7) AVOID THE LOCKER ROOM AND SHOWERS IF POSSIBLE
The gym equipment itself is a breeding ground of bacteria from all the sweat but the locker room and showers are ground zero for the nastiest bacteria that you can find. The humidity and moisture are the perfect environments for bacteria to thrive and the locker room is a place where you make direct contact with unprotected skin on many surfaces. It is not uncommon to contract MRSA or STAPH from the locker room and showers so the risk of contracting Coronavirus is also high. Please keep this in mind when changing or deciding to shower in a public place.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if the risk of going back to the gym worth it? For many of you, the answer is YES. As long as you follow these 7 simple rules to keep yourself safe then you can start enjoying the gym again.
However, if you find that you are not willing to take the risk of going back to the gym you can always look to create a gym in your own home. Gym Tech offers Home Gym equipment as well as setup and installation. Check out our store to learn more about what we have to offer and check out our other article about Home Gym Solutions During The Coronavirus Pandemic.