Safety First: Steps to Get Back to the Gym amid a Pandemic


You must have sighed in relief to get your final vaccine against the virus. That must have shed tons of stress off your shoulder if not given you a confidence boost. Well, you’re not alone. As the number of vaccines given continues to rise, more than half of the people in the country should be enjoying life. That can be your cue to start hitting the gym, something you may have longed to do for the longest time.

But pause before you pack your gym bag and blitz your way to the exercise center. As much as you’re fully vaccinated, it still is best for you to apply some distance. For starters, the virus is evolving. To note, the Delta variant is taking up a huge chunk of the news in California. Though experts assert the vaccines may hold, people can’t be sure.

The good news is you need not skip your gym classes. With the right set of expert advisories, you should be hopping from one piece of equipment to another. Listed below are some of the essential pointers you can apply to exercise in the gym without fear of the virus creeping into your system.

Gear Up

There’s a reason why the right gear should be best for you. For ladies, for instance, the right workout clothing for women means greater sweat-wicking and breathability. That should translate to a more comfortable workout in the long run and a wider range of motion for better performance. The same holds true for men: The right activewear matters.

But above and beyond, you should also wear personal protective equipment (PPE). According to CDC, that means a cloth mask. On the other side of the fence, you need not wear medical gloves as they can only complicate things. Instead of protecting you, such gloves can be a virus magnet to risk you.

A good alternative is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly. A 70% Isopropyl alcohol solution should be best. Additionally, you can make the most of disinfecting wipes to get common machines sanitized. Take note that you should steer clear of water fountains, so bring along with you a water bottle.

Double-check on Your Center’s COVID-19 Protocols

It’s understandable. You could be timid enough not to bother asking your gym’s front office. But you should know, in the time of the virus, it’s your duty to know. For one, the gym should smell more of one giant disinfectant instead of a sweaty place. To note, fitness facilities can be closed down if they don’t follow CDC guidelines. And that should include sanitizing equipment (elliptical, treadmills, barbells, dumbbells) using EPA-prescribed products.

woman working out

Always Maintain Safe Distance

It’s tempting to socialize and talk about current events, the latest happenings in town, etc., but keep your thoughts to yourself. As the CDC outlines, the best way to spread the virus is through human-to-human interaction.

Thus, as much as possible, stay as far away from other humans in the gym. If not, at least maintain 6-feet apart distance. If you can see that others have heavy breathing, stay away. By the same token, you should stay on the alert in locker rooms, weight equipment, and check-in areas. Where people gather, steer clear. It’s the reason why many close contact sports facilities such as basketball and football are still discouraged up to today.

Be Wary of Group Classes

It’s nice to be in a class where you have many people who want to make the most of exercise like you. But before you make a habit of these classes, know that studies have shown viral infections happen more in group dance settings. If you want to really engage, a class of less than 10 should be a good number. However, if it exceeds 20, a yoga or Pilates class may not be ideal.

Skip the Locker Room Routine

As you know by now, the locker rooms can be a hub in no time. Sweaty gym buffs can’t help but rub elbows sometimes. In response, many facilities have strict protocols for locker room use. For one, saunas and showers are not available (check if they are) even when the restrooms can be used.

Given all that, you should not forget to bring your own towel for greater convenience. As sweaty as you may be, you won’t have the convenience of getting a timely shower until you’re home.

It’s paramount to stay away from gyms for now if you have a comorbidity (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). You can try an online class instead. Other than that, keeping the steps above in mind should bid you well, and in the process, make your day.

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