Weight gain and the general lapse in fitness has us all wanting to go back to the gym and fitness studios. However, there happens to be some debate on whether it is safe to go or not. After all, it is a place where you sweat a lot and breathe heavily. Studies have shown that sweat doesn’t aid the spread of coronavirus and you are highly unlikely to contract the virus if you follow social distancing measures.
That being said, there’s a high chance of contracting the virus if the gym is located in an area with a high number of COVID-19 cases. The gym owners as well as users will face some challenges like the problem of proximity around the weights area, group fitness studios, etc. However, as suggested by so many experts, life will have to go on with coronavirus. We will just have to be extra cautious.
FITPASS is reopening from the third week of September. Give yourself the choice of gyms and fitness studios in your locality and nearby areas to workout with the fewest number of people possible. If you do not feel confident about going to a fitness center near you, work out at home with FITCOACH. Get dynamic workout recommendations based on your fitness levels and preferences.
- The risk of getting infected increases with age and having any medical conditions. If you are over the age of 65 or have any serious illnesses, you are advised to stick to home workouts
- Children under the age of 10 and pregnant women should workout in open spaces only
- You must maintain a distance of 6 feet even when in the gym.
- You will have to make sure that the gym owner enforces the following guidelines effectively
- Hand hygiene – regular washing or sanitizing of hands – is mandatory as well as wearing masks
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet at all times
- You will be allowed to use the gym facilities or attend yoga classes if you’re asymptomatic. Your contact information and visit timing will be recorded
- Your oxygen saturation will be checked before using equipment and if it is lower than 95%, you will not be allowed to use the machines
- The use of the Aarogya Setu app is advisable
- Gyms must do thermal screening every time a user enters the facility
- The number of people using the gym at a time will be staggered; the lower the better
- Social distancing and disinfection procedures will have to be ensured
- All machines to be placed at least 6 feet apart and sanitization before use is mandatory
- Adequate cross-ventilation will have to be ensured. If the space is closed, the air conditioners must function at 24-30 degrees Celsius
- Advise users to remove masks and visors while exercising and keep their footwear outside the gym
- All gyms and yoga institutes in containment zones will remain closed
- Spas, saunas, steam baths, ad swimming pools will remain closed
- Yoga kriyas to be avoided unless in an open space
- Your gym or fitness studio has enough space to place the machines at a 6 feet distance. Make sure this rule is actually being followed
- Everyone in a group class like a yoga class is following the rules and guidelines. It is harder to follow standard safety protocols. Since one exerts more energy in these classes, the risk of infection increases
- The location of the gym; if it is located in a mall or a closed building, cross-ventilation might not be possible
- Share equipment as seldom as possible. Carry what you can – resistance bands, jumping rope, yoga blocks, yoga mat, etc. It is better to stick to a pair of dumbbells for the entire session
- The staff disinfects the equipment after each use
Masks make it harder to breathe but you can't workout without them. Therefore, it is advisable to do low-intensity workouts and limit the number of exercises in a session. Follow some basic rules:
- Do not visit a fitness center if you’re sick
- Limit/avoid vigorous indoor activities like Zumba, cycling, etc. Go for yoga, Pilates, etc.
- Follow social distancing at all times. Increase distance while doing a high-intensity exercise like rope jumping
- Wear a mask before entering and after exiting the gym or yoga studio
- Disinfect the free weights, resistance bands, yoga mat, etc. before use as well as your hands
- Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes at any cost before washing them after getting back home
- Your hand sanitizer should consist of at least 60% alcohol
Finally, know that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has mentioned that it is safer to exercise in open spaces. If your gym has a terrace, it is the best option.