Working out is great for your health. And regular getting your sweat on at the gym doesn’t just reward you down the road – you reap plenty of benefits immediately after/during a workout, like an endorphin boost, revved up metabolism, and a better sleep that night. There are tons of ways to get exercise and be active, and for many people, the best way was going to the gym.
Then COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus (although technically this is the type of virus it is, rather than the specific disease – there are multiple types of coronavirus, which have been known for years) came along. Concern over the disease has people taking cautionary measures, like extra hand-washing (excellent!) and buying masks (much less helpful than you’d think). Some people are also trying to limit their chances of being exposed to the virus by staying away from high-traffic public areas: malls, city busses/trains, movie theaters, and, you guessed it, gyms.
If you’re worried about coronavirus but don’t want to give up your workout, we have some good news! There are simple steps you can take that will lower your chances of becoming sick. We’ll get to those in a minute, but first: The biggest tool in fighting the coronavirus is information. Here are some fast facts on COVID-19, according to the CDC’s website:
- The virus is mostly spread through person-to-person contact, and mostly at a range of 6 feet or less.
- It’s less common for an asymptomatic person to spread coronavirus – in other words, someone who does not look or act sick is less likely to be contagious.
- Coronavirus does not spread as easily through surface contact (touching something that a sick person has touched), although this is still possible.
What this means for the gym:
- Don’t go work out if you’re sick! This should be a no-brainer – the flu is more dangerous than coronavirus, and is spread in a similar way. Colds are common year round and spread in a similar way. If no one who was sick went to the gym, it’d be a lot harder to get sick at the gym.
- Keep a distance from people who appear sick (but don’t be rude – remember, allergies cause coughing and sneezing too).
- Wipe down machines/weights before and after using (I know I just said coronavirus isn’t usually spread by touch, but you should still be doing this).
- On a similar note, wash your hands after leaving the gym, and regularly throughout the day.
- Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
- If you bring any equipment to the gym, wash it or set it aside for washing afterwards. This includes clothing, towels, and anything you use in your group fitness classes. Some items, like Strive gloves, are machine washable and easy to clean. Others may require sanitization with rubbing alcohol, bleach, or antibacterial/antiviral cleaners.
Many gyms and fitness facilities are also doing their part to provide a safe, clean environment for patrons, and upping their cleaning services.
The moral of the story? If you want to get a workout in at your local gym, go ahead. Taking these extra little steps will go a long way in reducing your chances of getting sick.