Staying Safe at the Gym During COVID-19
Did you know that, according to a national study that analyzed over 4.9 million health clubs, only 0.0023% tested positive for COVID-19? Gyms are doing all they can to keep their gym members safe, and this statistic proves it.
Staying safe at the gym is paramount during this time. And even though gyms have many regulations to keep you safe, there are still many things you should do while at the gym to stay safe and keep others safe, too.
If you're worried or stressed about it, you might be asking yourself questions such as:
"Do I have to wear a mask while working out?"
"How can I prevent getting infected?"
"I love spin classes. Is it smart to take them, though?"
It's a lot to think about, and it's stressful to have to ask yourself all these questions while also making sure you get your workouts in and stay mentally healthy during this difficult time.
That's why we've put together this guide. Instead of having to worry about all this, you can focus on staying healthy and fit while being safe. Read on to learn more.
The first of our gym safety tips is to be prepared. So that you don't go to the gym and find out that you can't work out at all because it's too full, it's smart to reserve a space there first. If your gym doesn't offer this option, they might not be taking the pandemic seriously.
When you make your reservation, do it on the phone if possible, so that you can check with your gym about what guidelines they're following. Ensure that they have limits on how many people can come into the gym at a time and how many can attend classes.
If they don't do this, it may be worth switching to another gym that takes safer measures.
Once you've booked your entry into the gym or a place in a class, you need to prepare before going in. Instead of changing in the locker room, where you'll have closer contact with others, change into your workout clothes at home.
Additionally, bring your own water bottle and fill it beforehand, so you won't be touching the water fountain, where many germs can gather.
Staying Safe at the Gym by Socially Distancing
Once you've arrived, the first step of gym safety is to socially distance no matter what part of the gym you're in. When in the entrance area and other areas where there might be many people, stay at least 6 feet away from any individuals.
When you're choosing what gym equipment to exercise on, maintain the same social distancing.
Hopefully, the gym will have made some machines off-limits or placed glass around some of them-but if they haven't done this, it's up to you to maintain the right safety standards.
Wear a Mask When You Can
Whenever you're walking around the gym, wear a mask. Whether you're coming in through the entrance or walking to another section of the gym, keep your mask on. Wear it properly, with it fitted over both your mouth and nose.
Even though it's not super-comfortable to wear a mask while exercising, there are some exercises that allow you to do this.
If you're doing a low-impact exercise like yoga or pilates, for example, you won't be gasping for breath-which means wearing a mask won't have much of a negative effect on your experience.
If you're big on COVID-19 awareness and safety, then you may feel it's compulsory for you to wear a mask. If that's the case, check out this list from Greatist about the best masks to wear while exercising.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Just like you would when returning home from a grocery store run, you need to wash your hands when you arrive at the gym, and then wash them regularly: before your workout, after using a machine, and before you leave.
Many gyms will provide you with hand sanitizer, too, which you should use in addition to washing your hands regularly.
Disinfect As You Go
When it comes to how to work out during COVID-19, you need to disinfect machines properly when you're using them. Wipe surfaces before and after you've touched them, washing your hands before and after, too.
Make sure you do this with treadmills, stair-masters, and other cardiovascular exercise machines. When you're using a weight machine or lifting standalone weights, do this too.
If your gym doesn't provide hand sanitizer and wipes, bring some of your own. Additionally, when you're using any of this equipment, remember not to touch your face, especially your eyes and mouth.
No matter how often you sanitize or wash your hands, this is smart behavior.
Think About Swimming
Because there hasn't been any evidence that COVID-19 spreads through recreational water, you're pretty safe working out in a pool if your gym has one. If it doesn't, and you love swimming, it may be worth switching to a gym that has one.
That said, there's still a chance of catching it when you're walking around the pool area, so until you're in the water, keep your mask on and maintain social distancing.
It also may be tricky to change out of your bathing suit after swimming, since this requires time spent in the locker room. If you can, wear a cap to keep your hair dry and towel off fast, taking a shower later at home.
When You Get Home
Speaking of taking a shower later at home, there are some things you should do after visiting the gym once you get back home. The first is to wash your hands, after which you should immediately wash your gym clothes and mask properly.
You'll also want to sanitize and wash your water bottle, just to be safe. Then, take a shower. If your gym shoes aren't machine-washable, leave them outside for a day or two to be safe.
Help the Gym Trace
Letting your gym know when you've arrived, what machines you used or areas you were in, and when you left the gym will make it easier for them to track your comings and goings.
If they're alerted that someone had COVID-19, they can then contact you to tell you if you've been exposed and at risk. If your gym doesn't do anything like this, then you might want to join another gym that takes the COVID-19 Pandemic more seriously.
Risks to Think About
Even though gyms can be pretty safe when you're taking the right precautions, there are still some risks you should be aware of. By having this awareness, you can plan ahead and be safe.
Classes are risky to take during this time. Social distancing is more challenging if you're taking a spin or dance class, and because it's so many people in one room together, the virus is more likely to be in the air you're breathing in and out as your heart rate speeds up.
Consider Other Workout Options
If you've reviewed these tips and still don't feel comfortable going to the gym, then you can consider other workout options. There are plenty of free YouTube channels-such as Fitness Blender-where you can find workouts that get your heart rate up and strengthen your core.
Yoga classes are available, too. Many of these options also include Facebook groups where you can connect with other athletic people who want to stay fit during the pandemic, which means you can hold each other accountable and share workout tips.
If you want to join a workout class, think about using an online workout service like Obé Fitness. They offer classes live, so you can be exercising along with the instructor and other members.
And, of course, consider exercising outside. Going for a run or bike ride outside is far less likely to spread the virus than exercising indoors.
Need More Tips?
Do you need more tips for staying safe at the gym? Or maybe you want to learn more about how to stay healthy, during a time when it's much too easy to hang out on the couch with a bottle of wine and wait for the pandemic to end.
Whatever advice you need, we're here to help. At SupplementRelief, we've got tons of tips on how to stay healthy. Get started by checking out our Stay at Home Wellness Guide.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle, after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges, including auto-immune diseases, and being overweight, that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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