With the quick outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, many gyms and fitness centers were closed to regulate the spread of the infection. As a result, people have spent the last few months trying to find new ways to get their exercising fix. However, months after the original outbreak, many gyms and fitness centers are reopening to welcome members back through their doors. One question remains: how safe is it, really, to go back to a gym?
The risks of going back to gyms are essential to consider before making the decision. Many health experts have concerns about how susceptible gym environments are to the spread of airborne diseases. In confined spaces with warm air and heavy air flow, diseases like COVID-19 have ample opportunity to spread through the air in the form of respiratory droplets. Social distancing is not enough to prevent the spread of disease in gyms and fitness centers, especially because people often breathe much harder and sweat profusely when they work out.
The best solution to address this issue is to move your workouts outside or to set up a gym in your own home. However, if that is not a viable solution and, if you are insistent on maintaining your exercise regimen, you should assess your own medical vulnerability as well as how COVID-19 can affect the people close to you. For personal safety, here are steps you should take to minimize your chances of infection.
- Wear a mask at all times in all locations of the gym
- Distance yourself as far away from others as possible
- Wash your hands often, especially upon entry and departure
- Disinfect the workout equipment before and after use
Another facet to consider before re-entering gyms is to gauge how your preferred locations are handling cleanliness and sanitation. Check to see if they are taking temperatures of members, whether staff regularly disinfect the equipment, and how many people are wearing masks at the gym or fitness center. You also want to ensure that people who are working out are maintaining significant distance between themselves.
Finally, for gym owners, there are ways to enforce distancing and to provide gym members with peace of mind when they want to exercise. Some gyms have been experimenting with plastic workout pods to separate members and provide them with individual workout spaces. Another method that gym owners can explore is the application of antimicrobial films like TouchPoint onto high-touch surfaces, such as counters, benches, and lockers. By taking preventative measures, gym goers can be more assured that it can still be safe to go back to gyms.