Tips to Stay Safe if You Want To Go Back to the Gym
As gyms start to reopen and mandates are being lifted, here are a few suggestions to help make your own risk-analysis about returning to the gym and how to stay safe when you are ready to go back to the gym.
Get the Facts
Do your due diligence to understand what’s going on in your area. Get information from the Orange County health department on current COVID-19 guidelines; COVID-19 statistics by state are also available from the CDC and should be taken into account when timing your return to the gym.
Call your gym. Ask what cleaning, social distancing, health screenings, and other protocols are in effect to keep you safe. Most enterprises will be forthcoming, and some may have already reached out through email with statements on their practices.
If you have specific concerns, flag them to your gym. Most fitness centers likely want to hear from their members and make tailored adjustments based on their feedback to help them feel more comfortable returning to the gym.
Consider Your Health Status and Risk
According to the CDC, older adults and those of any age with underlying health conditions are at an increased risk of severe illness following infection. If you or someone you live with or are in close contact with are in those categories, any risk is heightened, and you want to be taking extra precautions.
Understand that you’re at a much higher risk if you’re unvaccinated. As a result, you should continue safety measures, such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and disinfecting your hands and your equipment while at the gym.
Most anything related to the gym will be low risk for folks who are vaccinated. They can return to more normal use of the gym, but for those who are unvaccinated, the same rules apply as they did at the height of the pandemic.
Stay Home if You Have Any Symptoms or Have Been Exposed to the Virus
Some facilities will ask you before entering if in the past two weeks you have had any flu-like symptoms or if you’ve had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. But you should be asking yourself those questions before you even go to the gym and stay home if you answer “yes” to any of them, even small coughs or a tickle in your throat.
Wear a Mask, Including When Exercising if Possible
Wearing a mask reduces both your chances of being exposed to the novel coronavirus, as well as the risk for exposing others. Of course, face masks can be uncomfortable and inconvenient when breathing heavily. While some gyms are allowing exercisers to not wear masks during intense exercise as long as they maintain six feet of distance from others, it’s still safest to wear a mask at all times.
Disinfect Equipment and Your Hands
Use hygiene stations between exercises and disinfect equipment before and after use. While gym staff should be regularly cleaning equipment, it’s still possible that you could pick up a weight that someone else just set down before it has been cleaned.
Your gym should have hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes readily available for frequent use. It is also recommended that you vigorously wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after your workouts.
Be Quick When It Comes to the Locker Room and Water Fountain
Avoid locker rooms and public restrooms when possible and when you do need to use either of these, be as quick as possible. These are close-contact spaces that generally involve touching a lot of surfaces and are also commonly home to respiratory secretions.
Avoid using water fountains, which some gyms are roping off for safety anyway. Take your own water bottle, ideally one that you can drink out of without touching the mouthpiece.
If you need to use either of these, don’t linger, make sure you have your mask on hand and wash your hands immediately after.
Don’t Touch Your Face — if You Need to Wipe Away Sweat, Use a Towel
Don’t use your bare hand to wipe that sweat from your face, as there’s always the potential for rubbing virus-carrying respiratory droplets directly into your eyes, nose or mouth. Opt for a towel. Some gyms provide towels; the most cautious choice would be to bring your own.
Disinfect Frequently Touched Items When You Get Home
Phone, headphones, anything — disinfect it. Disinfect any objects that were in the gym with you (a disinfectant wipe can work), just in case.
Since the Train with Nicole studio is private, we have a lot fewer people utilizing our equipment. However, I still take Covid-19 safety seriously and the following steps are being taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
- I am washing my hands before and after each client.
- I have hand sanitizer as well as a sink with soap and water provided in the studio for your use.
- I clean all equipment between each client with EPA approved cleaning products.
- I wash towels in hot water.
- I am offering sessions outside.
- I am doing enhanced cleaning at night.
If you still have concerns about Covid-19 protocol or would like for me to develop a home workout, feel free to reach out.