The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shuttered many gyms across the U.S. in early 2020. However, with proper safety, sanitization, and social distancing measures, gyms can be safe places to exercise even before COVID is fully eradicated. Read on for some tips and tricks to safely use your favorite gym this winter.
Avoid the Locker Room and Daycare
When social distancing measures are in effect, you're not likely to spend a prolonged amount of time breathing in air particles others have recently exhaled. However, the locker room is a humid area where airborne particles tend to hang around for a long time, making them an ideal transmission spot for the coronavirus. Some gym locker rooms include hot tubs or saunas that also can accelerate the spread of the coronavirus when a mask isn't worn.
Although the childcare offered by many gyms can be helpful for busy parents who don't want to miss a workout, it also exposes your child to other children and caregivers they don't normally see. It's best to minimize your child's exposure to people outside your immediate family unless it simply can't be helped.
Exercise Outside When You Can
If it's a sunny day, consider jogging outside or performing yoga in the park instead of exercising inside. Even if you don't want to perform your entire workout outdoors, you can still take advantage of good weather for warming up, cooling down, or taking a quick break. Try to avoid attending the gym during busy times, and it might be best to put off any classes or personal training sessions until after the pandemic has abated.
Bring Your Own Gear
Now more than ever, it's a good idea to be prepared when you hit the gym. Bring your own water bottle (and fill it before you arrive), towel, shoes, and change of clothes. It's also a good idea to bring your own sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer, even if your gym normally provides these items for patrons. By using your own sanitizing items instead of communal ones, you'll further reduce your risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Wear a Mask When You Can
As uncomfortable as it can be to wear a mask while you're engaged in heavy aerobic exercise, masking up before your indoor workout can be one of the most effective ways to prevent spreading the coronavirus or contracting it yourself. It doesn't need to be all or nothing; depending on your gym's rules, it may make sense to wear your mask during warmups and strength work and remove them only when running, cycling, or engaging in another exercise that just isn't conducive to mask-wearing.
For more information about getting a gym membership this winter, talk to a gym in your area.