Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Weights, sweat, and heavy breathing...
Like all public spaces where people gather, gyms and fitness centers are places where viral illnesses—including COVID-19—can spread.
By their very nature, training facilities like gyms tend to be germy. In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, flu virus and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in four different athletic training facilities.
Objects in the gym that are touched frequently, including exercise machines, mats, and dumbbells could potentially serve as a reservoir for viruses and other germs—especially because people may cough into their hands and then use the equipment.
Gyms are fighting this problem by encouraging members to wipe and disinfect the equipment before and after each use, placing the signs on the front desks, promoting social distancing, and vigilantly cleaning the surfaces regularly.
Whether your #gym is doing extra cleaning or not, your own actions may be most important for protecting yourself—and the other gym members.
What can you do to #staysafe
Taking the proper precautions can lower your risk of becoming infected.
Spray. Wait. Wipe. Repeat. The gyms should be plentifully stocked with spray bottles containing disinfectant and proper cleaning of equipment can go a long way. But it has to be done properly. When spraying a disinfectant, give it time to kill germs before wiping. If you don’t wet the surface completely with a disinfectant and let it do its magic for a minute or so, you are not doing it right. Make sure you read the instructions.
Wash your hands regularly. Wash them with soap and water for at least 30 seconds when you're done with a machine, or use a hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol. Make sure you also do so before touching your face or any part of your water bottle you put your mouth on. Do so again before entering and leaving the gym.
Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth when working out at the gym. The way we infect ourselves isn’t by touching dirty surfaces, but by bringing the virus from the hands to the face.
Stay home if you feel sick. This can mean staying home when you are only mildly ill and might otherwise decide to power through a workout. Think before you act.
Strive to maintain (not gain) strength or fitness during the quarantine period. Both too much and too little are bad while somewhere in the middle is just right. A large study showed that mild to moderate exercise – performed about three times a week – reduced the risk of dying during the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1998.
Use a towel. After disinfecting the equipment before using it, place your Tuckin Towel on the bench or a machine as an extra layer of protection. Tuckin Towel is made to cover most of the surface you are in contact with. Don’t forget to wash your towel each and every time you use it; towels soaked in sweat can attract unwanted bacteria so pop it in the wash after every workout. Do not use the same towel you use to put on the benches to wipe your face with. Doing that, you are transferring workout bacteria straight onto your face.
Avoid peak hours. The study, which estimated risk from influenza and tuberculosis (not coronavirus), showed that the risk of infection in gyms increased during periods of peak occupancy. If you can, avoid those peak hours even if your gym has a limited number of people allowed to train at the same time.
Most importantly, follow the WHO and your local government guidelines.