The corona virus doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. And as we all grapple to make what we make of it and learn to live with this invisible dread around us, we are continuing with our routines albeit with some added precautions. But some things are harder to work around than others. Going to the gym and working out is one of them.
Gyms, like businesses within the travel and hospitality industry, are some of the businesses most affected by COVID-19. And while most of us have been raring to get back to our gyms, there is the added concern of how do we protect ourselves and other while we are there. So all gym enthusiasts are now looking for informal tips and official protocols for prevention while gyming in a pandemic.
Why Are Gyms So Scary During This Pandemic?
Gyms are scary during this COVID-19 pandemic, simply because they are places where numerous people gather, touch things, work out collectively and more. Additionally, gyms are mostly indoor facilities and enough literature is available to suggest that the virus spreads faster and wider indoors rather than outdoors.
Add to this the fact that over the course of a single day, numerous people enter gyms, work out there, do vigorous exercise, touch equipment and even cough, huff and puff while exercising. Since people sweat more, they also tend to touch the face more, also increasing transmission risks of COVID-19.
Data also suggests that the COVID-19 virus survives for longer periods on hard, smooth surfaces such as steel and other metals. With the amount of equipment in use at gyms, the risks of transmission are obviously higher.
Last but not least is the risk of infections due to the use of shared facilities such as gym showers, changing rooms and even drinking water fountains. Thus, maintaining a safe environment that helps with COVID-19 prevention while gyming in a pandemic is essential.
Tips for Transmission Prevention while Gyming in Pandemic
So what do you do if you plan to head back to your gym? How do you protect yourself against COVID-19 while gyming? Here are a few tips.
- Avoid group classes for now and stick to individual workouts where it is easier to main social distancing. If the gym already has norms in place where they have reduced class sizes to ensure all social distancing norms are followed, you can consider joining in.
- Avoid busy times and follow gym rules regarding the maximum number of people working out at any one time even if it is inconvenient. There are lower risks of transmission during these quieter, off-peak times.
- Do not go to the gym if you are unwell in any manner, for example, if you have a common cold or flu.
- Follow strict hand hygiene. Wash your hands before and after your session and use a hand sanitizer frequently, preferably every time you change equipment.
- Clean your equipment both before and after you use it using a paper napkin and cleaning alcohol.
- Practice strict social distancing by mixing up your workouts so as to avoid coming into contact with others as they work out nearby.
- Avoid using gym showers and water fountains. Shower when you get back home and carry your own water bottle. Follow gym rules where changing rooms and showers have been closed to the public.
- Avoid social interactions with your gym friends. Skip the physical hellos, goodbyes and high fives.
- When you are at the gym, cover your coughs and sneezes either with your elbow or with a tissue. Avoid cloth towels while you’re at the gym during this difficult time. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or face with unwashed or unsanitized hands.
- Pay attention to the communication you receive from your gym, via email or via their social media pages. As gyms receive current and up-to-date communication from Governmental agencies and bodies, they follow strict guidelines and ensure that their patrons do too. Paying attention to this communication and following all the local rules is of paramount importance for COVID-19 prevention while gyming.
As you head back to your gyms it is important to make these lifestyle changes to prevent yourself and others from getting infected while you work out. These lifestyle changes are now here to stay for a considerable time to come.