Tips for Having a COVID-Safe Workout at the Gym

While we always we went to the gym to stay fit and healthy, over the past year things have changed. No longer being able to exercise safely indoors, many people opted for outdoor workouts, and there are even gyms that relocated some of their equipment to outdoor spaces. This was a valiant attempt to keep everyone safe while still allowing people to work out in peace. Luckily, people have started getting vaccinated and gyms have slowly been reopening again. If you can’t wait to get back to the gym, here’s how you can have a COVID-safe workout.

Bring your own ‘safety kit’

DIY “COVID safety kits” are excellent for those who are traveling, but also for those who are planning on hitting the gym soon. When planning on making your own, keep a list of things that should always be in the kit – at least one N95 face mask, disinfectants (gel or spray ones, it doesn’t matter), antibacterial soaps, your own towels (two at least), disposable gloves, and tissues/toilet paper. This kit will allow you to disinfect any surfaces that might still have bacteria on them before you touch them, but you should also make an effort to wipe everything down after you finish. Keep your seat clean, wipe down any workout equipment you’re planning on using, as well as the equipment you’ve finished using, and any weights and handles too.

Make sure your gym is following the protocols

If you’re thinking about going back to your gym, we advise you to ask around and make sure they are following CDC guidelines and protocols. There is more than just taking care of yourself and your hygiene – a good gym will go above and beyond to ensure that everyone who comes in stays as safe as possible. COVID-19 safety protocols are boring yet highly necessary, and the only gyms that you should step your foot into are those who are following the said protocols consistently. This means that there shouldn’t be more people inside than it’s allowed by your government and everyone should be wearing masks at all time (wear them properly, not just have them under their chin). In addition to this, people should be social distancing and there should be enough disinfection stations all over the place. 

Go small at first

If the gym is following protocols, there shouldn’t be a lot of people inside. If you only see a few people inside, you’re good to go, but if at any point you start feeling overwhelmed it’s best to reschedule your workout session. There are gyms such as Soul Train where you can come in for a semi-personal workout session with a friend. This is great if you’re thinking about joining a gym or starting a new program that you’re not familiar with. Sessions like these will allow you to look around, see how diligent the staff is, and try a new program without being surrounded with a lot of people. Many small studios and gyms are struggling to stay afloat at this time, but these are perfect since they naturally have fewer members.

Skip HIIT training

Being isolated for a while and missing going to the gym means that you’re probably making big comeback plans and scheduling a million workouts in the upcoming weeks. Still, there are certain workout practices that you should skip at this time, such as high intensity trainings. Indoor workouts call for less strenuous workouts, so skipping HIIT might be the best idea. These kids of workouts require more oxygen, and with a mask on your face you might struggle to take as deep breaths as your body needs. Indoor running and spinning classes with a mask will seem twice as hard than they were before, so a lower-intensity workouts might be a better idea instead.

Avoid changing rooms

No matter how focused you are on your workout or how tired you feel afterward, you should always remember to keep the advised social distance of 6 feet (1,5 meters) away from other people at the gym whenever possible. As you move around, be mindful of others no matter where you are. This leads us to changing rooms. This might seem like a huge inconvenience at first, but we advise you arrive at the gym prepared and dressed in your workout clothes.

If you’ve spent past months avoiding gym and workouts, you might feel bad about these decisions. The most important thing is not to be angry with yourself and to understand that we have all been struggling and coping in different ways. Going back to the gym sounds great, but it’s imperative that you don’t overdo it just because you can. Keep following COVID guidelines, keep your distance, disinfect often, and keep your mask on. Only by being responsible will we speed up the gym reopening process.
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