The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has forced businesses to temporarily close down, including gyms. Now after several weeks of being closed, gyms have started reopening little by little. This raises the question: is it ok to back to the gym during a pandemic?
Now that they're back, gyms have to comply with safety and cleaning protocols before and after each class.
If you decide to return, you must follow social distancing guidelines along with the cleaning protocol of your respective gym. This way you're taking care of yourself others at the same time.
Everyone has to set their own limits along with establishing a way to take care of yourself. The gym will enforce its rules, but everyone has to do their part to make sure the gym stays a safe place.
Here are some steps I'm following now that I've gone back to the gym. I want to clarify that they are not for everyone, just a couple of the things that have helped me adjust to the new normal. Let's begin!
1. I'm trying my best to avoid classes that have too many people in them. I asked my coach which classes have the fewest people, so I go during the times that its easiest to follow social distancing. I also don't stay after class and talk to my friends as much as I did before. Sometimes I used to stretch for an hour after finishing my workouts but now I just go straight home. During class I look at the workouts that I need to do, finish them, clean my things, and go. I miss spending time at the gym with my friends but its no longer safe.
2. While it may be tempting to work out with your friends, its best to avoid it to make sure you're following the rules. You should be able to listen to the coach's instructions and then work out separated from everyone else in areas such as the parking lot or the outside of the gym. Remember that you should be safe as long as you keep a healthy distance.
3. I use grips and gloves for each workout but that doesn't mean they'll eliminate any disease or virus I have contact with, but it seems to help reduce the risk. Avoid touching things that you don't have to make sure you take care of your hands when they make direct contact with different surfaces
4. I've been bringing my own yoga mat to the gym. A yoga mat is a non-slip mat that can be used for various different exercises including those in your Cross training and fitness routines. It's surprisingly affordable and you're the only person who will ever have to use it. This mat can be used for any exercise that requires you to be on the floor (abdominals, push-ups, handstand push-ups, etc.).
5. If you're working out, you need a personal towel. I carry my towel with me at all times and use one side of the towel to only touch my face and the other side just to grab it. It's best to be as safe as possible these days to avoid getting sick. I also wear a headband to keep sweat from running down my face, so I don't have to touch it as much.
6. Disinfect as much as you can! Your yoga mat and gloves can be sprayed with alcohol to make sure they stay clean. You should also disinfect all the machines and equipment you come into contact with at the gym. Although the gym disinfects the equipment before and after each class, it's better to be safe than sorry. It is also very important to disinfect your workout clothes as soon as you get home. Remember to always disinfect your hands and cellphones as well.
7. If you don't feel comfortable going to the gym yet, don't worry! You can take online exercise courses offered for free with membership such as the @JumpShiptraining training program (you can find their workouts on social media.). There are a lot of free and paid workout classes where you can talk to a coach and have personalized advice. Another option if you can afford it is to invest in personal training, where you would be the only one working out.
I think the most important thing is that we do not stop training. These are just some options you have if you want to go back to the gym safely. If you don't feel very comfortable going to the gym, you can call the coach tell them how you feel, and see if you can reach a point of understanding. This way you can check if they're complying with social distancing guidelines properly.
If you want to exercise, you can do it by going to the gym, taking online classes, or working at home using the available resources. The important thing is to keep going, as we return to the gym little by little.
The gym might never be the same again, so we must adapt to this new way of life until a vaccine or effective medical treatment comes out. Perhaps if this happens, we'll be able to continue living like before, exercising, and being with our friends. After all, that's what the gym is about, the community!
Let us know what you think about this new normal.