03 Aug WORKING OUT A SOLUTION: TOP 5 TIPS TO MAINTAIN GYM HYGIENE POST LOCKDOWN
With gyms reopening their doors today for the first time in five months, there has been a great sigh of relief across the health and fitness community. But for some, COVID-19 concerns still linger on, and many have trepidations about getting back on the treadmill. So how can we create a safe and friendly environment that we can all enjoy and get back on our usual fitness regimes?
The relaxing of lockdown rules does not mean that coronavirus has disappeared completely, and we must remain vigilant to avoid the risk of a second spike. While the government has offered health and safety guidelines and gyms can provide sanitising stations and social distancing protocols, it is our duty to ensure that everyone around us feels safe, which means being fully self-aware and respectful of our gyms and fellow gym-goers.
While coronavirus concerns may not affect you directly, others still feel the weight of these anxieties growing stronger. So, taking the time to understand certain gym hygiene courtesies can make a huge difference, especially for the peace of mind of our peers.
We spoke to Dr Daniel Atkinson, the Clinical Lead at Treated.com, who has offered his advice on how to enjoy the gym safely whilst being respectful of others.
1. Avoid peak times
‘More people means an increased risk of transmission. Some gyms have apps that let you check how many people are present, I would really recommend using these features if your gym has them. If not, avoid the peak times before nine and after five when people are finishing work.’
2. Shower afterwards
‘Remove your gym clothes and put them on a high temperature wash. You might also want to wipe down your phone with something like an alcohol wipe. Lastly, shower. Do this as you normally would. Make sure you wash all surfaces of the skin gently with warm water and soap. Doing all of these things once you arrive home from the gym will seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s the best way to ensure you’re not transferring COVID-19 into your house that you may have potentially picked up at the gym.’
3. Alternative between exercising at the gym and at home.
‘This one might seem a bit obvious, but we need to prepare ourselves for the fact there are going to be new rules. Training closely with partners and friends outside our household that requires contact, like sparring, for example, won’t be possible just yet. If you like to do cardio at the gym, go to the park instead. If you enjoy cycling, perhaps consider investing in a bike. There’s also plenty of strength exercises you can do at home that don’t require equipment. If everybody only came to the gym when they absolutely needed to, I’ve no doubt this would be an excellent way of keeping the risk of transmission low.’
4. Be vigilant
‘If you notice your gym has fallen short somewhere with regards to the new advice and guidance put forward by the government, don’t be afraid to give them feedback. If you’re unable to sanitise the equipment you plan to use, tell someone. If you think the gym is too full and it’s difficult to socially distance, mention it. It isn’t about criticism – it’s about making communal spaces safer.’
5. Don’t bring anything to the gym that you don’t need to.
‘The virus can survive on certain surfaces for some time. With this in mind, I wouldn’t recommend bringing anything into the gym that doesn’t need to be there. Come to the gym in your gym clothes and avoid changing at the gym. That takes changing rooms out of the equation and lowers risk. Leave any bags you may have in the car or at home if possible. Only bring the essentials, such as water bottles and your keys. Headphones should be fine, as long as you have a sturdy pair that will stay in place. The more you have to adjust them and take them off and put them back on, the more likely you are to touch your face (which is a route of transmission).’
If you still have concerns about visiting your gym, check out our YouTube channel for our RNT home workout exercise tutorials:
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