As a fitness enthusiast, gym reopenings probably have your blood pumping and your muscles itching to get back to the grind. As you load up your gym bag, however, keep the following tips in mind to ensure your return to the gym is done safely and responsibly.
1. Check for updated protocols
In addition to following state and local regulations regarding COVID-19 safety, check with your gym for updated protocols. Many gyms are limiting capacity and enforcing temperature checks on top of requiring masks for entry. You may also be asked to book a time slot for your workout.
2. Plan ahead to minimize your exposure
Even if your gym doesn’t require you to book a time slot, you should time your workout to avoid the busiest hours of the day. Gyms tend to be packed in the mid-morning between 8 am and 10 am and again in the evening after work. Choose a time slot outside of these hours to reduce your own exposure and to make social distancing easier for other gymgoers.
3. Sanitize everything before and after use
Wipe down equipment before and after you use it – even if you just saw someone else clean it. It only takes a few seconds to wipe down a machine and it could be the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Be sure to wipe down your belongings including your phone and water bottle afterward.
4. Cover your nose and mouth
Exercising in a mask may be a little uncomfortable at first, but your body should be able to adjust with time. In fact, wearing a mask during exercise could boost aerobic capacity and improve lung function over time. Take it slow for the first few workouts and stop to take a break if you start to feel dizzy or fatigued.
5. Have a workout plan in mind
Efficiency is the key to a safe workout. Have a workout plan in mind when you get to the gym, so you don’t waste a lot of time wandering around or waiting for equipment to open up. When possible, choose areas of the gym that aren’t busy.
6. Clean and sanitize after your workout
In addition to wiping down equipment before and after use, wash your hands before you leave the gym and after you get home. Give your personal belongings another wipe-down at home and shower thoroughly to wash your hair and body.
7. Listen to your body
It’s your responsibility to protect your own safety but it’s equally important to consider the safety of others. If you aren’t feeling well, ask yourself whether it’s worth the risk of going to the gym.
Planning ahead is the best way to protect yourself and others when returning to the gym. Adhere to state and local guidelines and, if you develop any coronavirus symptoms, stay home! Squeezing in an extra workout isn’t worth the risk of putting yourself or others in harm’s way.