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Is It Safe To Go To The Gym As Third Wave Surfaces? Tips For Returning Safely

More from Bindita Sinhä

Is your new year resolution getting toned up or losing weight? Certainly, it is quite understandable to wonder if it is OK to continue going to the gym in this situation. We all know that the omicron variant is again raising the number of cases of coronavirus across the world.

Unfortunately, it had only been a few months since gyms and fitness classes reopened and again, gyms and fitness centres are closed.

gym leg curls
Representational image via flickr.

Recently, a number of fitness enthusiasts and gym trainers joined a silent march requesting the government to reopen gyms and fitness centres across the state with essential Covid-19 protocols set by the government. Few of them were not, however, directly part of any gym, but their livelihood is dependent on the fitness industry.

The reason behind the silent march was re-thinking of the Covid-19 restrictions where apart from gyms and fitness centres, the rest of the daily essential places are open with 50% capacity, like shopping malls, pubs and clubs, supermarkets, restaurants, etc.

The protesters also issued an appeal to the government and said gyms do have a functional value.

So, What’s The Science Behind Shutting Gyms?

According to Professor Jonathan Ball (virologist at the University of Nottingham) gyms might not be as high risk as hospitals or care homes.

Dr Paul Sax (Medical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston) says, “The gym is not a place that’s necessarily riskier than other communal areas.”

working out in gym
There are numerous steps that we can take to mitigate the risks of going back to the gym. (Source: pixahive)

Now, if we talk about the concerns, it’s quite apparent we tend to worry about communal places and objects. But then again, since the outbreak, just like any other place, gyms and fitness centres are also maintaining the Covid-19 protocols on a daily basis which include:

  • Maintaining the Vaccinated Certificates of Gym Members and Trainers and other staff.
  • Everyday Temperature Check.
  • Social Distancing and Hand Sanitising.
  • Effective Air-conditioning.
  • Regular Cleaning.
  • Sanitization of the Equipment.

Correspondingly, there are numerous steps that we can take to mitigate the risks of going back to the gym. The gym space itself should be sufficiently stocked with spray bottles containing disinfectants.

But definitely, for unvaccinated people, going to the gym is at high risk as the delta variant is very infectious and how intense the cases are. According to an April 2021 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the danger of contracting COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces or objects in non-hospital indoor settings is now measured very low.

And, of course, vaccines vividly lessen COVID-19 spread risk.

So, finally, how risky is your gym or fitness centre or studio depends on what safety measures are being taken.

  • Is your gym well aired?
  • Is there an outdoor possibility?
  • How about your personal risk issues?
  • How many cases of COVID-19 are being reported in your zone?
  • Is there a distance of at least six feet between participants or 50% of the typical class size?

Decide consequently.

Suggested Steps For A Safer Return To The Gym By Experts

man in gym
Representational image via piqsels.

You can consider these safety tips when you head back to the gym:

  • I got fully vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask (IF POSSIBLE).
  • Keep a distance of at least six feet.
  • Avoid partner workouts.
  • Ask your gym to disinfect equipment regularly.
  • Don’t go to the gym if you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands or sanitize your hand frequently.
  • Call your gym, ask about health screenings, and other protocols are in effect to keep you secure.
  • Notify if you have any specific worries about your gym.
  • Don’t touch your face; use a towel.
  • Sanitize your phones, headphones, anything when you get home.

Please note: all of the above-mentioned facts are given by professional clinicians, researchers and experts.

It is reasonable that people do get sick with COVID-19 when respiratory droplets and aerosols carrying the virus come in contact with the eyes, mouth and nose. Besides, gyms are high-touch, close-proximity spaces where exercise raises the range at which people exhale respiratory particles because they’re breathing more deeply.

But we’re in a new normal now, isn’t it? The decision about whether to return to or not to is completely upon you. Be aware of the steps that you need to take to ease it. Oh yes, I am going to the gym.

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