Does it seem like a good time to get back to the gym? Many of us have avoided working out outside of our homes for months and months now. For a while going to the gym probably seemed like a very bad idea. Whether your community was full of COVID-19, or largely safe, why take the risk? Even if you wanted to go to the gym, most were closed.
Now you may be feeling out-of-shape and ready to get back in the saddle. Maybe you’ve been working out at home, or outdoors. Maybe you’ve been stress-eating and avoiding exercise like, well, the plague. Now that gyms have been open for a while in many places it might be a good time to go back. Gyms has time to iron out some reopening kinks, right? It’s probably pretty safe to go back, right?
Well, you may still have a couple of questions before heading back to your classes and machines, and we are here with your answers.
Should I wear a mask while exercising?
The WHO recommends not to wear a mask during exercise, as wearing a face covering can impede your ability to breathe comfortably. Masks worn during exercise are also likely to get wet with sweat, which is uncomfortable and could compromise the effectiveness of the mask itself.
That being said, it is generally considered to be safe to wear a face covering while exercising. We know that many people in active professions from construction to healthcare wear face coverings as part of their jobs, and have for a very long time. Face coverings do not substantially reduce the amount of oxygen you can take in. The ‘danger’ of face coverings is primarily one of comfort. Unless someone has underlying respiratory conditions, face coverings are safe, if uncomfortable, in most fitness scenarios. If your gym requires you to wear a mask while working out, don’t fret. You’re perfectly safe doing so.
Many gym chains are trying a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to mask-wearing, asking their clients to wear masks between classes or when moving to different machines or equipment. This allows people to safely transition between physically distanced spaces. Because physical distancing is still recommended over mask-wearing whenever possible, this seems like the best available solution.
Do I need to wipe down / clean gym equipment?
While research is beginning to show that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from surfaces may not be quite as high as previously thought, there are lots of reasons why you should be thoroughly wiping down gym equipment both before and after using them. Whenever people are in such close physical contact as the gym various germs can accumulate and spread. Gyms should have designated cleaners as well as available cleaning supplies to cut down on any germs. Though it’s generally not a huge concern in frequently cleaned gym settings, bacteria like staph or infections like ringworm are a possibility. Whether or not COVID-19 can spread via these surfaces, those other infections certainly can.
It doesn’t hurt to thoroughly clean gym equipment. Remember: even though COVID-19 may be the main health concern we’re thinking about, it’s not the only thing to be mindful of. Gyms are generally frequently cleaned for this reason, and it’s always polite to wipe your sweat off gym equipment for others. It’s generally a good rule to be clean and polite whenever possible. So, don’t be too afraid to touch shared equipment or machines, but don’t neglect normal cleaning measures. From the research we have available this doesn’t seem to be a big concern at this time.
How do I stay safe at the gym?
All major world health organizations are in agreement that the most important measure for ensuring your safety — and the safety of others — from COVID-19 is physical distancing. If you can safely move between sections of the gym by wearing a mask and work out in a space that is at least 6 feet or 2 metres from others gyms can be safe spaces.
Remember, your duty to keep your community safe from COVID-19 as well as preventing your own infection. This means that if you have any symptoms of illness it is extremely important to stay home. Symptoms you should be aware of include: headaches, sore throat, weakness, cough and much more. This is not a good time to ‘power through’ an illness and keep up our same routine. Stay home and keep your community safe.
Should I go back to the gym?
This really is a personal choice, and not one to be taken lightly. It’s important to look at the actual COVID-19 infection numbers for your community before making a decision. Remember that, as far as we know, people can be contagious before they show symptoms of disease. This means that even well-intentioned people can possibly spread the virus to others before even knowing that they are ill. If, however, your community has done a good job of containing things the risk may be very minimal.
Also be sure to note what your gym is doing to cut down on the virus’ spread. Do they seem to have a good plan? Are they committed to keeping their clients distanced from one another? Chain gyms often have more robust COVID-19 plans. Has your gym communicated their plans with you? Are you comfortable with their choices?
Another important consideration is your own health. Physical activity is a huge part of staying healthy. Have you been able to keep up your fitness at home, or do you need a gym atmosphere to help you stay motivates?
One thing is certainly for sure, whether you’re working out at home or heading back to the gym FITIV Pulse gives you all of the tools you need to stay in control of your fitness. From workout planning to post-workout analysis, FITIV has features to help you. Download FITIV Pulse today and unlock your fitness!