How to Safely Return to the Gym?

With the new year’s commencing, what better time to get your health and fitness back on track than now? That, however, will require you to come up with several fitness goals. We bet one of the ways you plan to do that is to hit the gym. One issue, though, how do you safely return to the gym in the middle of a pandemic? We all thought it would have eased down by now, but the infection numbers are unrelenting.

For that reason, you need to consider several ways you can safely return to the gym because, well, life must go on. You can’t put your fitness goals entirely on hold on account of a pandemic.
But before you hurry to the fast-opening fitness centers around the country, there are several things you need to consider. Most of them will be risks associated with exercising in an indoor gym.

What Are the Risks Associated with An Indoor Gym?

● Respiratory Droplets Travel Farther

You need to understand that air droplets can travel farther when you are working out. That means that if you are working out next to an infected person, the chances of inhaling virus-containing respiratory droplets are higher.

You have to consider that people exercising in the gym breathe with a greater force than when at rest. That means that there might be a storm of virus-containing respiratory droplets hanging in the gym air, further increasing the infection risk.

● Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Social distancing has been a running theme the last year since the pandemic hit. But that can be a tall order in a gym setting. Yes, most facilities have put up guidelines to ensure adequate distances between people. There are times you might find yourself exercising with a cardio machine that is close to someone else and vice versa.

We are trying to say that even with all the measures the gym might put in place, some rooms might still see crowds. Imagine several people having a conversation right where you are doing bench presses or in the weight room you are using.

That further complicates the efforts to social distance from the other gym users as you exercise. It is something worth pondering about.

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● Poor Ventilation

Not all fitness and wellness centers will have the ideal ventilation systems. Ventilation systems remove viral droplets in the air. If absent, it means an increased risk of infection, especially in a small indoors.

● Shared Equipment

If you didn’t just land in this world today, you must know that it is possible to get infected by touching contaminated surfaces. With the way most gym equipment is usually shared, there are chances that you might touch something an infected person has touched as well.

That might expose you to infection, especially if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Using any of the gym equipment such as dumbbells, cardio machines, or mats that haven’t been adequately cleaned might be a risk in itself. So, how will you reduce these risks we have outlined above?

● Go to a gym that makes you feel comfortable and safe

You must ensure the fitness facility you go to follows the state guidelines on Covid-19 safety. Some will naturally have more precautions than others. Additional precautions might include extra temperature and symptom assessments and cleaning and mask-wearing protocols. Some may even have limited fitness class sizes.

That’s why you must visit various facilities and compare the measures put in place. It might be a better idea to choose one that offers online personal training, virtual fitness classes, or outdoor fitness classes.
Such measures will enable you to put in place a workout routine that will see you use the indoor gym less and less, thus reducing the risks of exposure to the virus.

● Always wear a mask that will cover your mouth and nose as you exercise.

We understand it might be quite hard exercising in a mask, but it’s the only way you will keep you and other gym users safe.

Also, a recent study found out that your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation won’t be that severely impacted when you exercise with a mask. It would be a good idea to come with several disposable masks that you can be changing as you work out.

● Maintain social distancing

The closest you should be to someone else is at least 6 feet. That means ensuring you aren’t in close contact with any of the gym employees or fellow users. It would help if you worked out at the gym area that won’t be too crowded or only going to the gym during off-peak hours.

● Come with your equipment whenever possible.

Try and come with your equipment from home. When you are using your equipment, you are sure no one else has touched them.

● Carry your water bottle.

This might seem like a no-brainer. Not all fitness centers have water fountains which are why you need to bring your safe water.

● Remember to clean the equipment before and after using it.

clean the equipment before and after using

After cleaning, also remember not to touch your nose, eyes, or mouth. That applies even when you are working out as well.

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● Remember to wash your hands before and after exercising

This will reduce the risk of you transferring any pathogens to and from home.

● Go slow on the high-intensity exercise while exercising indoors.

Try to do such exercises outdoors whenever possible. If you are to do it indoors, ensure you have a bigger distance between you and the next person.

Final Thoughts

Your physical and mental fitness significantly depends on begging or maintaining an ideal workout routine. At no time is that more apparent than in the ongoing health crisis. That is why you should ensure you choose a place that will give you the best support to see you achieve your health goals.
Working out at the gym or any other fitness center or from the comfort of your home will significantly help ensure you stay healthy.

You, however, have to ensure you take the necessary precautions to avoid exposing yourself to Covid-19 anywhere. That means you have to get away to go on with life that doesn’t risk your health even with the prevailing challenges.


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  • Updated March 19, 2023
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