More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of businesses have fallen into financial ruin and were forced to either temporarily halt operations or permanently close shop. This includes gyms, where dozens of equipment have been relegated to unused furniture, gathering dust as tumbleweeds go rolling across the once busy and sweat-stained floor.
With some countries having considerable success in containing the spread of the virus, or perhaps they’re just trying to avoid an economic collapse, gyms are allowed to operate again at a limited capacity. While this is exciting news for gym rats and fitness enthusiasts, caution is still the most crucial component in making sure the fight continues in curbing the pandemic.
To keep shared spaces safe at your local gym, a two-pronged approach is what works best. Both gymgoer and the owner should be responsible for practicing strict health and safety protocols, and here’s how they’re done right:
For the Gymgoer
1. Mask up
Face masks have evolved from a simple protective covering to a fashion accessory over the months since the beginning of the plague. During the time when little was known about how the SARS-CoV-2 virus was spread, medical-grade masks were the norm. But when scientists have measured the size of the particles, it gave them vital insights as to how they are transmitted, making cloth masks en vogue.
However, there is much debate about wearing a mask while working out. According to the WHO, masks restrict airflow, which can be tough when doing strenuous exercises. But experts say it’s still a much safer option than wearing no protection at all. Just make sure to go at a pace that works for you. Remember, it’s better to be safe than
sorry hooked on a ventilator.
2. Distancia, amigo!
Since the virus is known to spread via droplet transmission, social distancing makes it safer. The CDC has recommended staying at least six (6) feet away from other people while still wearing a face mask. But with all the heavy breathing done by someone working out at the gym, an expert advises to stay further away to avoid being in the same breathing space of someone who may be infected.
3. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize
The virus is also known to spread through fomite transmission, albeit having no evidence of direct infection. Regardless, there is still a chance a sick and perhaps asymptomatic gymgoer may leave respiratory droplets with viral particles on the surface of dumbells and other gym equipment. Since they could last for a considerable time, this could be enough for you to be indirectly infected if you don’t sanitize as a precaution.
The standard practice is to wash your hands thoroughly, but doing so every after your set isn’t feasible. The next best thing is to carry a spray bottle of hand sanitizer and spritz away on benches, equipment handles, and virtually anything you touch.
For the Gym Owner
4. Scan for a fever
When the government started to allow business establishments to finally open at limited capacity, it’s been commonplace to see temperature checks at the door. With this kind of contagion running loose with nary an end in sight just yet, all methods to keep it from spreading should be part of your operations.
A fever is a natural reaction of the body when it’s fighting an infection, so it’s not a cause for concern under normal circumstances. However, it’s crucial to quarantine a person at the earliest signs of COVID-19, making temperature checks a necessary precaution during a pandemic.
As an owner who wants to keep the business up and running, you wouldn’t want to have someone infected spreading the disease in your gym. If this happens, the consequences won’t be pretty. For the safety of both your regulars and new patrons, invest in temperature scanning equipment.
5. Contact tracing is the new norm
To contain an outbreak, a smart tracing process should be in place. Identifying the people who came in contact with an infected gymgoer is critical to keeping the numbers down. You can keep it simple by using a logbook, or you can make it easier for everybody by setting up a QR code system where your patrons can use their phones to log into the system and fill out a form. Easy peasy.
6. Ventilation is key
The CDC has stated that SARS-CoV-2 can also be spread via airborne transmission under certain conditions, specifically, in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. Make sure to space out your gym equipment, turn off your airconditioning, and open your doors and windows to let fresh air circulate inside. This reduces the chances of allowing the viral particles to linger in the air and infect people who are further than six feet from the sick person.
If There’s a Will, There’s Remote Training
Of course, nothing beats staying home. However, nothing also compares to being in an actual gym. If you’re concerned about your safety above all else but still want to work hard with a trainer to achieve your fitness goals, there’s now an option to exercise remotely through online classes. The key here is striking a balance to lessen the chances of exposure while still putting the work in.
If you’re looking for top-notch trainers to keep you on track, download the Splore app and join its community of coaches and fellow fitness enthusiasts. You can keep those muscles moving in the safety of your home without compromising your training regimen.