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These are challenging times that we live in, & this pandemic has disrupted the whole world’s functioning. Nothing is the same as before, and the fitness industry is no different.

Every gym & health club was closed during the lockdown & finally opened after the situation got a little better around August last year.

The situation seemed to have improved a bit, only to worsen now. The pandemic is raging again. The vaccines are a big hope and relief, but the rising cases are a grave worry. Most gyms & health clubs continue to stay open (at least in most parts of India). But is it even safe to go back to the gym in this current situation? If yes, what precautions should one take while hitting the gym to stay safe (and keep others safe)?

Is it safe to go to the Gym?

Though gyms stay open at most places now, an open area like a park or open-air gymnasium would still be a better option to opt for rather than working out at a confined indoor gym.

The risk of transmission of the virus in an open place like parks, where the air is not stagnant, is much lower than in confined areas like gyms. Also, you can space out in a park while exercising & maintain a safe social distance from others which is not entirely possible while working in an indoor gym or a health club. So, it all boils down to an individual’s decision to hit the gym or not by assessing all the risk factors involved.

Park Workout / Run

Who should not be hitting the gym.

  • Fitness enthusiasts above 50 years of age, irrespective of vaccinated or not, should avoid going to the gym for now.
  • Irrespective of vaccinated or not, people with long term health conditions and those who are not in a good state of health.
  • Those living in red zones or regions that have many reported cases .
  • If you are not feeling well, feeling tired or sore, having cold-like symptoms or exhibiting any other covid symptoms.

If you have decided to hit the gym, How to stay safe?

Now, if you did bite the bullet and have taken the decision to hit the gym, you must take the following precautions to reduce the risk of getting infected:

  • Follow the basic COVID guidelines / SOPs, such as maintaining social distancing as much as possible. We know it will be challenging in a confined place like a gym but try to keep a distance of at least 6ft from others.
  • If you are doing low-intensity workouts, wear a mask. But suppose you are doing high-intensity training like lifting heavy weights or doing HIIT/cardio sessions. In that case, you should not wear a mask as it would get hard for you to breathe properly & it might limit the intensity of your workout. Also, you might feel a little dizzy or lightheaded. Instead, go for a visor even though it does not offer the same protection as a mask (something is better than nothing).
  • But make sure to wear a mask on your way to the gym and while exiting the gym.
  • Wearing a glove while working out might sound like a great idea to safeguard yourself from the virus, but wearing gloves would lead to difficulty in sanitizing your hand & could lead up to you touching your face or mouth with dirty gloves. It would be much easier to sanitize or wash your bare hands & handle all the equipment.
  • Limit your participation in indoor group classes such as Zumba classes or aerobic training classes. Instead, try working out on your own. Limit your interaction with other people as much as possible while at the gym.
  • Always carry a hand sanitizer with you, which has an alcohol content above 70%. Sanitize your hand every 10-15 minutes (between each workout). Before you exit the gym, thoroughly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wipe down all the free weights & equipment before & after you use it. Carry a disinfectant with you to clean it up. Even though there’s going to be a gym staff to take care of this, being doubly sure won’t hurt. Chances of you contracting the virus from pieces of equipment or free weights are much more than directly contracting it from a person. Therefore, make sure to sanitize the equipment well before you use it.
  • Take your own stuff to the gym, such as a water bottle, yoga mat, foam rollers, and anything you might need in the gym.
  • Avoid taking a shower or steam/sauna session at the gym.
sanitize regularly
Sanitize your hands regularly.

Your gym needs to have changed its rules and standard operating procedures to adapt to the COVID normal. Make sure that they are following these precautions & procedures:

  • Making certain members wash or sanitize their hands while going in & out.
  • Checking the member’s body temperature before they enter
  • Continuous disinfection of equipment.
  • Maintaining distance between two pieces of stationary equipment.
  • Constant sanitation of all facilities and touchpoints throughout the gym.
  • Limiting workout times and limiting the number of people at the gym at any given point in time as per rules laid down by the state or government bodies.
gym must follow sanitization

The Bottom Line.

Hitting the gym or not in the current situation is an entirely your personal decision. But if you have decided to hit the gym, make sure you follow the above-mentioned precautionary guidelines to safeguard yourself, your fellow gym-mates & your loved ones at home from the virus. Stay Safe!

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