Gyms are reopening – Here’s what you need to know to be prepared

While some of us have really leaned into virtual fitness classes and home gym set-ups, others have been itching to get back to the gym since they first closed in response to COVID-19.

Now that gyms are starting to reopen and welcome patrons back, there’s a lot of newly implemented best practices that need to be put in place by both gym owners and gym goers in order to ensure they’re as safe as they can be during a global pandemic.

Keep in mind that the gym in the wake of the coronavirus crisis can be a dangerous idea. However, if the numbers are decreasing in your area, and gyms start to reopen, there are some ways to stay safe and get proper exercise.

We tapped into our network of fitness directors and medical doctors to get their insights on how to safely frequent the gym in the middle of such uncertain times.

Here’s what you need to know to be prepared and to work out with as little risk as possible.

Workout with a coach or partner.

If you do plan on wearing a mask or if you’re worried you may forget to put the newly implemented best practices in place, consider working out with a trainer, or bringing someone in your quarantine bubble with you. “Our coaches keep an eye on all members throughout the gym as well as during our Group Fitness and MMA-Inspired classes to ensure everyone is being safe, taking breaks as needed, and no one is overexerting themselves,” explains Taylor Casales, Fitness Director at UFC GYM in Kendall, FL, which is owned by A-Rod.

Call to see if they limited the number of people going to the gym.

It’s essential to see whether the gym you want to go to decreased the number of people who can be in there simultaneously. “If the number of infected people is dropping, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take extra precautions,” explains Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, Ph.D., a medical advisor at Supplements101. “The good thing is that we know that COVID-19 isn’t spread through sweat, but heavy breathing exercises might be dangerous for people working out close to each other.” That’s why you should also see if the gym made a proper distance between the treadmills to decrease the risks of catching COVID-19.

Don’t drink water from a water fountain in the gym.

This may seem like an obvious precaution, but if you’re used to taking a big sip of water between workouts, you may accidentally have a slip after getting into your old workout flow. Instead of taking the chance of becoming dehydrated, Dr. Velikova suggests bringing your water to decrease the risk of catching COVID-19.

Don’t wear gloves while working out.

“You can never sanitize your gloves well enough, whereas it’s easier to wash your hands more frequently in-between workouts and decrease the risk of catching COVID-19,” explains Dr. Velikova.

Wipe down the equipment.

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, you probably wiped down your equipment after using it. Now, to save others and yourself, you should wipe it before and after the use. 

Wear a mask.

According to Dr. Velikova, masks won’t impact your workouts, but they can help you save yourself (and people around you) from catching the COViD-19. However, sweat makes them less effective, and you should change them regularly through the workout session. “You can bring several disposable masks; however, you can also prepare a few reusable ones, if you want to be environmentally conscious,” she suggests.

While you may assume that wearing a mask will hinder your performance, Casales suggest there are actually a few benefits of wearing a mask while working out:

  • Strengthens the lungs and diaphragm 
  • Forces controlled breathing 
  • Reduces risk of breathing in the air of others around you 
  • Provides an increased sense of comfort while working out