As COVID-19 continues to alter daily life, it’s still important for everyone to stay active. Exercising on a regular basis strengthens your immune system and is also great for your mental health.
If you’re the type of person who heads to the gym to meet your fitness goals, you’re probably wondering how safe it is to work out in a public space right now. Here are a few steps to help you assess the risk and be smart while you stay active.
Check with community health experts
Visit your local health department’s website to see the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in your area. If the numbers are increasing, going back to the gym could be a risky activity. The city may also have guidelines in place that regulate how these facilities need to be operating.
Consider your personal risk
If you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, play it safe and skip the gym. If you live with someone who has a weakened immune system, take their safety into account as well. It might be a better idea to do at-home workouts for a little while longer.
Call the gym
Even if gyms are allowed to remain open, not every gym is maintaining regular business hours. Call ahead and ask about when your facility is open. Aim to visit at a time when the gym is less busy.
Also inquire about any safety measures that the gym is enforcing. Are they limiting the number of people that can visit at one time? Are they cleaning and disinfecting equipment more regularly? Have them cover your questions and concerns before heading in.
Follow safety precautions
Once you’re at the gym, be mindful of your physical distance from other people. People tend to breathe heavily while exercising. That means droplets that might contain the virus can move farther through the air. Stay more than six feet away from others at all times.
Avoid touching your face while you’re exercising. Instead, use sweat bands and a clean towel to wipe sweat away. Prioritize washing your hands when you’re finished working out. And be sure to carefully sanitize any equipment you use with disinfectant spray or wipes — before and after using it.
Bring the right items
Bring your own disinfectant to clean off equipment. You should also have a towel to wipe away sweat from your face. You can wear a mask if you feel comfortable doing so. But note that your face will get sweaty. You might find yourself constantly readjusting the mask — an action that is risky if your hands have germs on them.
Consider alternate workout options
If your local gym is closed or you simply decide you feel uncomfortable going right now, consider other exercise options. Turn a corner of your living room into a workout area. Online exercise videos can guide you through a new and challenging routine.
You can also go outside to bike, jog or hike. It’s easier to maintain six feet of distance outdoors than it is in the gym.
Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.