Walking For Exercise During Covid-19April 12, 2020
Going Too Hard? Find A Balance to Avoid Super-Intense Workouts in A PandemicAugust 2, 2020
Whether or not people should go back to their fitness training centers or the gym is currently a hotly-debated question. The main concerns include decreased airflow and shared equipment in the gyms. Another major worry is the gathering of people in extensive fitness facilities.
In its effort to gradually reopen America, the White House has issued guidelines to fitness and gym centers to open up their facilities. And in many states, these fitness centers have started to reopen. However, people are still skeptical about resuming fitness classes and sessions – and this is understandable.
The following are variables you should think through when deciding whether or not to hit the gym.
- Social Distancing
According to Dr. Eudene Harry, a medical lifestyle expert, people would be safer in the gym if they maintain a six-feet barrier among themselves. Should clean equipment before and after use.
When you exercise, and you are exerting yourself, your breathing becomes more vigorous. So, it means you might project respiratory droplets to a greater distance than when you have a regular conversation with someone.
If you decide to resume your gym sessions, ensure you maintain a six-feet distance between you and other gym users. For example, skip one or two treadmills and use the third, or place your exercise mat six feet away from the next person. Practice the same distancing during a fitness class.
Speaking of classes, the Center for Disease Control recommends avoiding indoor training classes because they entail grouping. Instead, it would be best if you opted for virtual classes or outdoor training whenever possible.
- Wearing Mask
The truth is, wearing a mask when exercising may be uncomfortable, especially if you are doing cardio. Thankfully, this discomfort can be reduced by judicious mask selection. Your choice of mask determines your performance in the gym. A lightweight, flexible mask would be a great option in the gym.
Most people can do almost all the workouts when wearing a mask. Nevertheless, you will want to watch for specific symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, numbness, and dizziness. Your mask brings a specific restriction to your breathing. Together with increased heart rate, you tend to experience low levels of oxygen. And that’s going to affect your endurance and the heart rate. Therefore, it’s critical to lower your expectations a bit if you decide to go to the gym.
Besides protecting yourself from Covid-19, wearing a mask in the gym can help you burn more calories. Wearing a mask makes you restrict oxygen flow to your airways and to your muscles too. It’s a challenging workout and leads you to work harder. As a result, you increase your intensity and burn extra calories.
Experts suggest that it’s crucial to consult with your doctor to determine whether exercising with a mask is appropriate for you.
- Prioritize Air Flow
It will be a great idea if you avoid gym facilities with little air ventilation, as more ventilation and ample space help to dilute the coronavirus concentration in the air. Opt to go for gyms with much larger space, can have windows opened, have a couple of levels or floors to accommodate physical distancing. Also, your ideal gym should incorporate an air conditioner and open doors to allow free air circulation.
Studies indicate that respiratory particles can remain infectious for more extended periods in poorly ventilated gyms because the humidity and temperature in these environments are high. In its very nature, covid-19 consists of aerosols. They contain small droplets that stay in the air much longer than larger droplets. So, if the ventilation systems do not provide clean air through exchanging outdoor and indoor air, the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus is high.
- Gym’s Safety Precautions
There are guidelines gyms ought to follow for reopening, but they vary between states. However, most states recommend that gyms enforce physical distancing, limit capacity, and disinfect equipment every time.
Before resuming your gym training sessions, consider whether your gym has employed these measures meant to protect gym users against covid-19. Moreover, consider whether those procedures are likely to be applied effectively.
For instance, you should assess whether staff members at your gym are cleaning equipment regularly, screening visitors’ temperatures, and wearing face coverings or masks. Check whether the gym needs patrons to put masks as well.
More importantly, check to see that instructors are wearing a mask. They tend to speak and project loud voices and may unwittingly aerosolize the coronavirus.
- Your Risks
Public health experts advise that you think of your risks before heading back to your preferred gym. You ought to make an individual assessment of risk factors in light of your medical situation, whether you consider yourself someone at a higher risk for the coronavirus infection.
According to health experts, gym-goers with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and people who are 65 years old and above might want to work from home or stay at home.
Additionally, the Cambridge Health Alliance recommends that, if you are living in covid-19 hot spots, and areas experiencing high levels of new infections, you should skip the gym – at least for now.
Enough said, if you now decide to visit the gym and fitness centers, here are a few more tips:
Heading into the swimming pool? Keep distance from other swimmers. Although the chlorine in the pool can inactivate the virus, to be on the safe side, practice social distancing on such surfaces that are frequently touched. Ensure you wash your hands after touching tiles, railings, and ladders.
Most gyms provide supplies such as towels and bottled water, but in this age and time, carry your supplies. You never know, someone might have touched these provisions without protective gear. And this also goes to a water fountain or communal water coolers.
The Take Home
If you are left with no other option but going back to the gym, try to evaluate the above considerations, and incorporate the tips. That way, you’ll be sure of some peace of mind when working out.
Stay positive! Stay safe!