A new year has just begun, and there is a flurry of people looking to put away most of their new year resolutions. One such resolution is hitting the gym and cutting down the pounds. But is it safe to return to the gym just yet? How does one safely return to the gym in 2021, especially considering that the pandemic is still racking up infections all over the world? Your concerns are valid since no outdoor place can claim to be entirely safe.
Many fitness and wellness centers have started opening their doors to the public after initially closing due to the pandemic. You, however, must have concerns on whether it would be the right move to return to the gym now, thanks to the looming Covid-19 danger. That is why you have to carefully consider the risks associated with returning to the gym and how you can keep yourself safe from contracting the virus.
What are some of the risks to expect from exercising in an indoor gym during a pandemic?
● Air droplets will travel farther
Naturally, people tend to breathe more forcefully while exercising than when at rest. That means the respiratory droplets from such people will travel farther than usual. That means there will be an increased risk of contracting the virus from such a situation.
Even with the CDC’s recommendation to ensure at least 6 feet distance between people, that might still prove a tall order in a gym where respiratory droplets travel farther.
● It will be difficult to social distance at all times in the gym
Most fitness and wellness centers have laid out guidelines to ensure adequate spacing in the workout areas. That, however, doesn’t mean it will be easy to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other gym users.
A person might be using the cardio machine just next to you. Another one might be having a conversation right next to where you are doing your bench presses. What we mean is that even with crowd limits, workout areas can quickly get crowded.
● Poor Air Ventilation
Not all the fitness centers you go to will have up-to-date ventilation systems that clear the air of any impurities. That means you will be walking into poorly ventilated rooms that might be a Covid-19 storm waiting to happen.
● Sharing Equipment
Sure, sharing is caring. But with the pandemic, that cannot happen anymore, especially in the gym where people share all kinds of workout machines and equipment. If you happen to use equipment an infected person used, then there are chances you could get infected.
Covid-19 has been proven to also spread by touching surfaces where infected people have touched then touching the mouth, nose, and eyes in turn. That is why shared equipment forms a significant part of the risks in gyms.
With your mind now open to the risks you might face in an indoor gym, let’s look at how you can mitigate them.
● Choose a fitness Centre that makes you feel safe
All fitness centers will no doubt follow state guidelines on Covid-19 prevention. However, some will do it better than others. They may implement additional safety measures such as temperature screening or limiting their class sizes.
That is why you should visit various fitness centers and gyms to see which one has the measures that would keep you most at ease. If you find those that can offer personalized online training, outdoor classes, or virtual classes, that would be an excellent option.
If you happen to have access to treadmills with tv screens in your home, such facilities would be the best bet for you.
● Ensure You Always Have Your Mask On
Wearing a mask while exercising might understandably be an issue for most people. That, however, doesn’t mean one is excused from wearing a mask in the gym. That means you will have to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth all the time when you exercise.
If it helps, a study found no significant difference in oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure when someone works out while wearing a mask.
You should thus carry several disposable masks with you to be changing as you exercise.
● Maintain Social Distance
Ensure you maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet between you and any other gym user or employee. That will mean trying your best to work out in gym areas that are less crowded than other places. You could also avoid the gym during peak hours and only attend sessions during off-peak hours.
● Come With your Home Workout Equipment if Possible
By coming with your equipment from home, you will avoid touching any of the gym’s equipment. All you’ll need is some space to work out. That will reduce your chances of contracting Covid since you aren’t touching any surface that potentially contains viral pathogens.
● Come with Your Water bottle
The gym will most likely not provide you with water which is why you should bring your own. It will prevent you from having to share with anyone and thus help avoid exposure to Covid-19.
● Clean the Gym Equipment Before and After Use
The fitness centers will most likely ensure the equipment is clean. You can never be too sure, though, which is why you should do it yourself.
● Wash your hands before and after the workout
Keeping your hands before and after using the gym equipment will help prevent the virus’s spread through touching contaminated surfaces.
● Reduce Highly Intensive Indoor Workouts
Always try and perform intensive exercises outdoors whenever possible.
If you were thinking of returning to the gym in 2021 after a yearlong hiatus but were hesitant, now you know there are safe ways to do that. If you have concerns going to the gym, you can get workout equipment from Fast Health Cares or other providers and work out at home.
All in all, remember to ensure you stay safe and protect your family members. That will mean ensuring you adhere to the state guidelines on Covid-19 prevention.