How to Stay Safe and Sanitary at the Gym
The idea of reopening our world with an invisible enemy still lurking can be scary. However, medical professionals mostly contend we can resume our daily routines if we employ good common sense.
Gym facility shutdowns have impacted the lives of millions, as access to exercise equipment was temporarily restricted in hopes of slowing the virus’ rate of contagion. With fitness junkies flocking back to their gym-of-choice, it’s our responsibility to implement necessary safety measures to keep our cities low-risk.
But it won’t always be easy. Unfortunately, our gyms may prove to be one of the more challenging spaces to enact and follow essential safety precautions.
With exercise equipment in close quarters, there may be instances when you find yourself less than six-feet apart from a fellow gym attendee. Not to mention, you’ll be sharing machines and equipment with dozens of strangers on a daily basis.
So, what can you do to stay safe and sanitary when you head back to your gym? Here’s a list of guidelines to keep you and your workout buddies safe from the effects of COVID-19.
Wear your mask
At this point in the pandemic craze, the tug of war over a mask’s ability to protect vulnerable populations is virtually nonexistent. Nearly everyone is in unanimous agreement that wearing a mask benefits you and those in your immediate surroundings.
The gym is no exception. In fact, it may even be a requirement to enter the facility. Make sure you only use a mask that meets CDC guidelines. There are a number of excellent places to order high-quality masks and face coverings, like this.
Wear your mask according to instructions. An excellent suggestion is to have a backup mask handy, in case the one you’re wearing gets compromised. With a higher risk for droplet and bacteria exposure, you can never be too safe.
Most health clubs and fitness centers have rearranged their facilities to help promote social distancing. You should prepare to do your part in advance. This may require some adjustment to your normal routine.
Now is a perfect time to consider new workout strategies. High-intensity intervals and circuit-type workouts can offer flexibility, which helps maintain a safe distance. These programs can allow you to alter your workout, yet still, target your goals.
It’s a strategy that allows you to move to a machine or exercise but continue to practice safe social distancing. You may discover that this new approach can also reduce the amount of time you spend inside the facility.
This change-of-pace can be a win-win for you and other gym members. Altering your workout routine will allow you to take advantage of free machines and open areas when necessary. Most importantly, it provides you a way to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Diligently practice cleanliness
Most fitness club members have witnessed, firsthand, the horrors of watching a drenched gym attendee walk away from a machine that is now covered in a slimy film of sweat. That’s poor gym etiquette. Now, it’s even more critical to wipe down equipment.
For your own safety, be prepared to wipe down machines and equipment before you use them. Target the areas where your hands and elbows touch especially. Finally, when you finish your exercises, do the right thing, and wipe the equipment down again.
Use hand sanitizer
There is another way to help prevent the transmission of contaminants from one machine to another. When you complete one exercise, apply hand sanitizer before you move to the next machine or piece of equipment.
Avoid touching your face
It’s a common habit to wipe the sweat from your brow during an intense workout. In the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks, we need to implement new habits. Wearing a mask is one safeguard against germs.
However, if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, it can defeat the mask’s purpose. If you think you may have problems with this, make sure you wipe your hands on a towel, and then use hand sanitizer.
This is also important if you need to adjust your mask. It’s always best to take a few seconds to exercise good hygiene.
While it’s always a smart choice to bring your own water bottle to the gym, the current stay-safe guidelines make it even more imperative. Staying hydrated is an important part of getting the maximum benefit out of your workout.
If you’ve relied on the water fountain or water cooler, you need to rethink that strategy. Be sure to bring along your own water bottle, something large enough to meet your hydration needs. You can even boost your performance with energized water solutions.
Limit locker room and restroom use
Some days this may be a challenge, but if you can avoid the locker rooms and restrooms at the gym, the Petri dishes of harmful bacteria, you’ll be better off. If you normally shower after your workout, consider changing this practice for the time being.
Your home bathroom is far easier to control than a public shower. As for restroom breaks, they may be imperative. You can’t sacrifice your hydration to avoid trips to the restroom. So, if you must use the restroom facilities at the gym, exercise good hygiene.
Avoid touching surfaces if possible, and always wash your hands before leaving. If possible, try and limit your visits to the restroom to handwashing sessions. Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the gym to avoid carrying germs out the door with you.
We’re all in this together. Losing our ability to fulfill our need for healthy exercise was tough. However, with gyms and health clubs introducing soft reopenings, it’s time to get back to fitness. But, we need to be safe and smart.
Follow these suggestions for keeping yourself safe when you head back to the gym. Practice the recommended safety guidelines and maybe add some variety to your training program. When you leave the gym, you’ll not only feel invigorated, you’ll feel safe.