One of the businesses that give a green-signal to reopen, though reverted, is none other than our most-favorite – GYMS; amid the excitement, we have forgotten to ask whether these big box gyms and small studios alike safe enough to go back, especially when studies are publishing, claiming that sweat also transmits the deadlier SARS-2 COVID-19. And yes, what can we do to protect ourselves if we decide to go?
Here’s everything you should know.
Is it safe to return gyms?
Gavis Harris, MD, infectious diseases physician, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells a news channel that returning to gyms could be dangerous. “From a biological and physiologic perspective, it’s a bad idea,” citing that since the novel coronavirus is spread via droplets, people in gyms quickly spread this way. And yes, there’s also the potential of staying virus on shared surfaces for days. He says. “Couple that with an enclosed space, the risk of exposure is exceptionally high.”
To visit gyms, Harris recommended wearing masks for those working out, especially trainers, cleaners, helpers, etc. – working at the gym. He also says that one of the significant problems with gym reopening is that no firm protocols have been put in place from public health experts, either gym owners or gym-freaks.
So, it’s up to private gyms to create their own SOPs to help keep them, their trainees, and their spaces safe and disinfected.
According to Harris, the number-one thing all gyms have to do is to thoroughly clean and disinfect all the surfaces after every single client usage while having adequate ventilation so that the air particles don’t hang around.
Another thing what gym instructors and owner to implement is the Social distancing remains, suggesting all the gym-goers bring their own wipes and sanitizers and instructions to ensure, and encourage, hand hygiene should be placed all over and given throughout their workouts.
Dr. Harris doesn’t discount the general benefits of exercise and gyms that give individuals the motivation to move and socialize but cautioned against returning to these – potentially or better to say easily infected – spaces too soon. He says, “At this time, I would strongly advise against going to public gyms and other fitness clubs unless appropriate health measures can be assured.”
This is mainly for those with underlying health conditions.
What gyms look like after reopening?
Here, we have good news: Most gym owners have been preparing for reopening since the Pandemic hit and they are asked to close-down; like, Life Time, which has 150 locations across the US, has created a 53-page document, detailing precisely what their spaces will look like, they have also released a video and online plan last week to members to get the word out on safety precautions for both the staff and visitors.
Many gyms, even in Pakistan, increases their cleaning frequency of cleaning, using more and more disinfectant products, started individualized sessions, and limit the number of clients – both in classes and at the gym overall.
Many responsible gym owners have also placed signs and markers throughout the gym, set weight machines farther apart – to reinforce social-distancing rules.
Like other businesses, staff and visitors should also go through temperature checks before entering the working area and wear masks throughout. William says, “We want to make sure members feel good, confident, and safe when they come back, so that’s swaying our decision [on when to reopen].”
What can I do to stay safe while working out in the gym?
First thing first: Don’t go if you don’t feel confident in its cleanliness—and don’t feel shy to ask about what your gym is doing to contain coronavirus spread.
Secondly, As Harris mentioned, masks and personal cleaning supplies are always smart. When you go to the gym, make sure to wash hands before and after any equipment use; you can also wipe them before and after use. And most importantly, do not touch your face. “Health clubs are taking the extra steps necessary to provide a clean and safe environment, but everyone has an essential role to play—staff and members alike,” says Poppler.
Still, we recommend to keep taking virtual classes, they aren’t going away for a while either, so until the rate of COVID-19 drop in your area, avoid going to gyms and other public places; practicing at-home option for some more time won’t take away your muscles pump.