While many states were under stay-home orders, gyms and other fitness facilities were closed, and people had to look for alternatives. However, as businesses begin to reopen, many people consider going back to their regular gym or fitness routines.
The good news is that the coronavirus is not found in sweat, according to Amesh Adalja, MD, an infectious disease physician at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America1.
But before we get excited and run to the gym, we need to consider taking safety measures to protect ourselves. Take a look at what recommendations health experts make about working out amidst the pandemic.
● Look for the right facility – Before going to a gym or other workout facilities, do some research to learn about their policies and what precautionary measures they have in place. Check if the facility is well ventilated. Also, make sure you will have room to safely social distance from others and be able to sanitize your hands and equipment frequently.
● Avoid peak hours – Research your gym’s peak hours and try to avoid visiting during busier hours, if you can. Fewer people in the facility at a time provides a more controlled environment and will lower the risk of the virus spreading according to a study2 by Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
● Wear a mask as much as you can – No doubt working out with a face covering would be difficult. However, according to a research3 by UC San Francisco epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, and an infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD, wearing a mask significantly reduces the amount of respiratory virus emitted in droplets and aerosols. In addition, masks can prevent larger droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that can travel further. If you don’t have a mask on and need to sneeze or cough, make sure to do it into your arm, not hands.
● Don’t touch your face – When working out at a gym, you are likely touching equipment and dirty surfaces. Keep your hands off your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent virus transmission.
● Disinfect equipment – We can’t always rely on others to wipe down the equipment after each use. Use a disinfecting spray or wipes to wipe down the equipment before and after use. Get the surface wet with the cleaning agent and give it time to dry off before use.
● Wash your hands – Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer before and after using equipment as well as before leaving the gym. Make sure you don’t touch your face and the part of your drink bottle you put your mouth on with dirty hands.
● Stay home if you’re sick –If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and rest. This applies not only to the gym but to all other public spaces. Even if you see mild enough symptoms for you to work out, still consider exercising at home.
Gym & Exercise Facility Alternatives
There are many options for exercise without going to the gym. According to Melissa Bronstein, Director of Infection Prevention and Control for Rochester Regional Health4, the virus particles disperse more quickly in the open air than inside. Why not do some stretching or go for a jog outside? You could also check out free or inexpensive virtual workout options that are becoming more readily available.
The information contained in this post is for educational and informational purposes only. For health or medical advice, consult a physician or other qualified health provider.