If you are a gym enthusiast, the past long weeks of lockdown must have been challenging to you, as indoor exercise routines and home workout videos were the only way out to stay fit and healthy.
Not only the stay-at-home practice sessions are dull and tedious. They are also hard to maintain.
Subsequently, like many others, you are most eager to go back into your old workout routine.
Now that the government started making decisions about which businesses to restore in the next step of the reopening plan, unexpectedly, gyms and fitness studios are on the list, after being the first to close their doors in this pandemic. Now they are ready to reopen.
However, most people are not sure if it is indeed safe to return to the gym, knowing that the virus is still infecting thousands of people every day.
While doctors confirmed the virus's inability to spread by sweat, solely droplets from the nose or mouth carry the infection. There still is a potential risk of being contaminated in the gym.
Certainly, the gym is not as dangerous as other crowded spaces such as the current large public gatherings, where people tend to concentrate.
Nevertheless, spaces with risk 0 of contagion have never existed, even inside our safe homes.
The contaminated surfaces, the mutually shared weights, and machines, and the proximity of treadmills, all add to the potential possibility of infection.
Thus, the reopening of gyms is under the obligation of respecting safety protocols and preventive measures.
What follows in the rest of this article, are a set of simple tips and acts you can do to protect yourself from getting infected.
microbes at the gym
When considering the number of people that touch and handle the shared equipment every day, gyms are a storehouse for a wide range of bacteria and germs.
Researches confirmed this matter. The analysis of multiples surfaces inside four different fitness facilities showed increased concentrations of resistant bacteria and viruses.
The very nature of a workout space makes it a favorable environment for the spread of germs. When people do exercise vigorously, they have to breathe promptly. The deep and thorough inhalation and exhalation of air account for germs, which may end up contaminating the surfaces of close settings or the lungs of nearby persons. The effect is furthermore exploited in limited spaces.
wearing a face mask at the gym
Ever since this pandemic started, face masks proved their efficiency to limit the spread of infection. The world health organization (WHO) recommended their use in areas where social proximity is unavoidable; thus, wearing them at the gym is advisable.
However, exercising in a face mask is not entirely safe, as it causes a little constraint to the respiration.
With increased ventilation, the filter acts as an obstacle that restricts the flow of air to the lungs.
It is essential to recognize the potential symptoms of inappropriate respiration.
If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or numbness, you should stop immediately as these may indicate poor oxygenation.
Besides, exercising in a face mask is dangerous for people with aerosolized heart or lung conditions. You should consult your doctor before attempting to practice heavy exercises.
The efficiency of masks varies widely; it depends on which type you are wearing and how you are wearing them.
Make sure not to use a loose-fitting mask, as these let the air slip from the sides when you are breathing heavily.
Additionally, the facemask may dampen with sweat and slides on your face, causing you to touch your face while readjusting it.
Thus, you have to choose a thick and yet breathable type.
disinfect anything your hands will touch
As stated before, High touch equipment in the gym tends to carry a wide range of microbes and viruses.
Experts all agree that you should clean any equipment you are planning to use, even if the person who used it before you looked totally fine. Remember that 25% of infected individuals show no symptoms at all.
The gym should already have enough disinfectants, bleach wipes, and cleaning tools. Nevertheless, you should bring your own.
To sanitize a surface, start by cleaning the dust and grim. Next, you spray the disinfectant and wait for a minute or so before wiping so, all the germs die.
Repeat the procedure before and after using any weights, bars, machine rails, or benches.
wash your hands
Washing hands is the gold preventive measure in this pandemic. Since the main route of infection is when the virus reaches the mucus of eyes, nose, or throat. Either through contaminated droplets in the air or contaminated hands in contact with the face.
“During a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.” UNICEF
There should already be sinks and soap available for use at the gym. Wash your hands multiple times, before and after handling any equipment. And be extra vigilant not to touch your face with bare hands. You can bring a clean towel from home to wipe the sweat on the face
keeping distance at the gym
While there still be no precise guidelines or specific safety protocols for the reopening of gyms. What is confirmed is the obligation to reduce the number of individuals allowed inside fitness facilities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated (CDC) that social distancing is the most effective approach to limit the spread of the virus.
Keeping a distance of 6 feet (two meters) between yourself and others, whenever you are outside, will reduce your chances of catching the virus. Especially if someone coughs or sneezes.
At the gym, you should avoid doing or being in proximity to people practicing aerobic exercises as such areas work as an infection incubator.
With the great news of this pandemic being almost over, you may be keen to go back to the gym and your old workout routine. But you should be aware of the associated risks.
Returning home safe and sanitized from a good exercising session is not an impossible mission.
You merely need to wash your hands frequently, disinfect any surfaces you touch, wear an appropriate facemask, and keep a distance from others.