Now that the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted across the country and we can all return to our regular activities, you may wonder how to protect yourself from the virus, especially when you get back to the gym.
Why are gyms unique from this point of view?
Different from all the other places we might gather in, most gyms have bad ventilation and that makes it easier for COVID-19 to spread. This is the main reason there are specific restrictions regarding the number or people that can attend in the same time.
Just think of all that puffing and huffing, all the cough or splutter that can propel those infectious particles when we exercise, contaminating the whole environment. So, make sure you will keep the recommended distance from the others if you want to return to your gym routine.
This virus seems to be able to survive longer on stainless steel and other smooth surfaces and all gyms have equipment made from these materials. Sanitising the gym equipment is important too, especially with so many people sweating and spreading respiratory droplets all over the place.
Finally, all the shared amenities such as showers, changing rooms hair dryers and drinking fountains can increase the virus transmission, since you need to use your hands to operate all of them. All of these objects are frequently touched so If you don’t want to share your equipment with a stranger’s germs use disinfectant wipes to clean those surfaces.
A study made in South Korea after 112 people got infected in a sport facility, showed that the small space together with the large class size and the intense workout program contributed to that outbreak.
So, as the gyms reopen, we need to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen with us.
- Gyms should encourage early bookings to make sure there won’t be too many people in a class or people won’t be turned away at the door.
- Gyms should enhance their cleaning practices and disinfect all their facilities.
- Gyms should collect all the details from the participants to ensure they can follow up in case someone is detected with COVID-19.
Now, what you can do to protect yourself while returning to your old gym routine?
- First thing first, make sure you don’t visit the gym if you have cold or flu symptoms.
- Be responsible about hand hygiene and wash thoroughly or use sanitizer when you enter and leave the location.
- Avoid going to the gym during off-peak times, when possible.
- Always clean your equipment before and after using it with disinfectant wipes.
- Avoid touching your mouth or face during your workout.
- Make sure you keep a big enough space between you and the other participants.
- Avoid getting closer to others while exercising.
- Drink from your own hydrator bottle not from the public drinking fountains.
- Change and shower home even if the shower facilities are open, although they shouldn’t be.
Each of us has an important role in preventing this virus to spread and keeping the numbers low until we return to what’s known to be normal. All of these measures will help decreasing the risk of this infectious disease and help the society remain open.
As for the people that represent the major group risk for COVID-19, we recommend them to minimize their exposure in public and exercise in the safety of their own home in order to protect themselves. Outdoor exercises are also an easier way for them to practice social distancing while doing sport, unless they’re not running with more people. However, if they still decide to go to a health club, they should choose a gym that is very well ventilated and be very diligent about respecting strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.