It’s quite understandable that after months of staying at home, working from home, and even working out at home, you may want to return to the gym to meet your weight loss or fitness goals. Gyms in India had been allowed to reopen, thanks to the Unlock 3.0 regulations, but the question that still remains is, how safe is it to return there?
India ranks second in the list of nations with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, third in the list of global deaths, and the pandemic is far from over. The risks of transmission in crowded places and the need for stringent precautions still remain the same, especially in a place like a gym. A recent study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology points out that although “gyms and workout classes provide a sense of community, support, and personalized instruction, they are also crowded areas with lots of surface area that can transmit infections, and simply wiping sweat off with a towel is not enough.”
So, while you may want to rejoin your gym, there are quite a few considerations involved before you actually do. Keep the following tips in mind if you intend to return to your gym while keeping COVID-19 infection at bay.
1. Call your gym: It’s necessary that you call your gym to find out what precautions they are taking against COVID-19 infections. Ask about how they intend to manage hygiene, temperature checks, social distancing, staff and member health and if frequent disinfection of the shared gym equipment is being done. These are basic requirements and if your gym isn’t providing them, then rethink your decision or choose a gym that does.
2. Check location: Before you head out to the gym, check if the locality or building where the gym is situated has had a surge of infections lately. This can be easily done via a reliable app, news agency or by asking your municipal representatives.
3. Prefer ventilation: If your gym is outdoors or has proper ventilation, then it may be safer than other gyms that are indoors or located in basements. Indoor spaces which are not ventilated properly tend to be breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses and fungi of all kinds, and therefore the risk of infection is much higher there.
4. Stick to social distancing: While wearing a mask constantly while exercising is neither possible nor advisable, social distancing while you’re in the gym is your best bet on safety when you return to the gym. Avoid rush hour and opt for staggered timings with your trainer.
5. Avoid sharing: Carry your own gear and avoid using shared equipment, especially foam rollers and exercise balls, as much as possible. This means staying away from cycling machines, treadmills, dumbbells, barbells and weighted plates.
6. Sanitize: Carry hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, sanitizer sprays, disposable tissues or towels and use them properly. This will come in handy especially if you’re using shared equipment. Use the sanitizers to wipe down any shared equipment both before and after using.
7. Assess your health: If you are feeling unwell due to any reason, don’t go to the gym and stay at home until you get better. Whether you have COVID-19 or not, stepping out while you’re sick also endangers others, and this is especially true in the case of closed spaces like a gym or a workplace. So, ensure your safety as well as that of others, and ask your fellow gym members and management to do the same.
For more information, read our article on Is it safe to go back to the gym during the COVID-19 pandemic?
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