For many of us who like to exercise regularly, going to the gym is very much part of our routine. I was just about the only one left standing in my gym in the weeks leading up to lockdown, as it was eerily deserted. I knew that it was a risk but I wasn’t quite ready to let go. I wore gloves and immediately washed my hands afterwards and made sure I didn’t get close to anyone (not difficult as I was often the only one there).
And then boom, we were all locked down and life as we knew it was over
I had no equipment at home and had never done a YouTube work out in my life. That was soon to change.
YouTube is a wonderful thing
So many great work outs to choose from and by getting a few weights at home, it’s amazing what one can do. I was seriously impressed with how quickly yoga and other exercise studios started offering their classes online. I was also impressed with the number of people pounding the pavements in an effort to keep fit. I’ve never seen so many joggers in my life. Curiously many of them looked like they weren’t regular exercisers and I was left wondering if loads of people had taken up jogging for the first time. I had to restrain myself from stopping some clearly very unfit and overweight people, and suggest they start out by doing a nice brisk walk which would be a lot safer and equally beneficial.
And now after all these months, gyms are set to reopen. So how do we feel about this? Can it be safe when people will be huffing and puffing not to mention sweating all over the place?
I checked out gym websites to see what measures were being put in place
Hand sanitiser stations will be posted around the place in all gyms. Air flow will be pumped up as ventilation is absolutely key to keeping indoor areas safe. Entry and payments will be contactless. Numbers monitored. High touch areas cleaned and disinfected every few hours.. Social distancing clearly marked out and equipment arranged to reflect this. Hygiene stations dotted around with wipes and sprays to use on equipment. Members to wipe down equipment before and after use. Weights to be cleaned after every use and staff on hand to clean up regularly. A nightly deep clean of the whole gym.
Phew it’s all quite a lot of work isn’t? But obviously very necessary.
None of the gyms mentioned the wearing of face masks
Face masks have become a very controversial issue, both in terms of their use being mandated and also their efficacy. In the East they are worn as a matter of course but a lot of people in the West seem to see it as an infringement of their civil rights, especially in America. To me that’s like saying a car seat belt is an infringement of my rights. My only concern is safety. If a mask keeps others safe or me safe, I will gladly wear one. I’ve read numerous articles and studies about masks and there would seem to be evidence both for and against usage. It’s all very confusing. However countries that wear masks are on the whole having a better outcome with the virus than those that don’t, which seems pretty compelling to me.
Personally from the very beginning I chose to wear one, as well as gloves, when going to shops. I feel more protected and if it stops me unwittingly spreading the virus then even better. However it’s always for short periods and I don’t wear one when going for a walk or doing anything outside.
Would I wear a face mask in the gym?
The answer is no. The reason is that wearing a mask does reduce oxygen intake which increases CO2 levels. I don’t think this is a good idea when exercising. When levels of carbon dioxide rise too high this can trigger symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea and breathing difficulties. However I would be very pleased to see gym staff wearing masks or face shields which are more comfortable for long term use and in fact would be a good idea for anyone working out and wanting a bit more protection. However none of the websites I visited mentioned this.
So am I ready to return to the gym?
I can’t say I’m that keen to be honest and won’t be rushing back. I also have a good routine at home now. However perhaps it’ll just take a bit of getting used to the idea as we all slowly start venturing out again. I think when I do back go to the gym I’ll invest in a face shield and will probably wear gloves.
Do remember to take it slowly when you return to the gym
If you haven’t worked out much in the last few months then ease your way gently into your old gym routine. You’re bound to have lost muscle mass and strength and it will take a little while to build it up again.
What I would also say is that if your gym is not taking the highest level of precautions (including all of the above), then cancel your subscription and find another one. Or keep working out at home. Whatever you decide, making some sort of exercise part of your daily routine will hugely benefit you, helping to keep your mood up and your immune system strong.