5 Ways to Stay Safe When Returning to the Gym
Coronavirus has changed almost every aspect of our lives including the gym. For many of us, the gym remains a sanctuary away from the chaos of our daily routines of work and family. It provides a place to focus completely on our health and wellbeing, but this sanctuary has been temporarily out of reach due to social distancing. For some people, the gym doors cannot open soon and enough, and they are ready to take whatever safety precautions necessary to get back into their fitness routines. For others, they are feeling more tentative, and need to feel assured that it was safe to return to the gym. Here we look at five ways to stay safe when returning to the gym.
Pre Plan Your Session
Are you guilty of arriving at the gym without focus and spending more time idly chatting with friends by the equipment? All of us have been there, but during Coronavirus we don’t have that luxury. Time is absolutely of the essence. Take a few minutes before you arrive at the gym to think strategically about what you are going to work on. Plan a session that is short and sharp, designed for maximum efficiency in the time that you have available.
Speak to the gym staff, and ask them when their quietest off-peak times are for minimum human interaction and get creative with your schedule to ensure that you are training in the safest possible environment. Ensure that when possible you are reducing the amount of equipment that you use. Fewer machines or pieces of equipment means fewer surfaces to come into contact with.
Prepare for the session, by ensuring that you have all of your necessary nutrition and water packed personally. Most gyms will have their water fountains switched off, but if not, don’t take any unnecessary risks at a communal area.
Boost Your Immune System
There has never been a better time to think consciously about boosting your immune system. Introduce a daily dietary ritual that can enhance your immune system with specific food groups containing key vitamins. Research supplements that can complement your diet. We have never had more time to refine our culinary repertoire, so get creative in the kitchen and seek food rich in vitamins. My personal preference is a combination of vitamin C, zinc and a probiotic which I take daily and has served me well.
Are you getting enough sleep? Utilize smart phone technology to track your sleep patterns and be disciplined in ensuring that you are getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, making in doubly important to get enough sleep.
Although you will undoubtedly be itching to get back into training harder than ever, take slow steps. Moderate your training intensity to help maintain a healthy immune system and tailor your training specifically to your energy levels. Recovery is as vital a part of your training lifestyle as the training itself. If you don’t get this right, your immune system will be stressed.
It is a time to give a bit more thought to the practically about what you are going to wear when going to work out. Some gyms will require you to wear full length gloves to work out, at least in the short term. It may feel unusual, or even uncomfortable, but some of us may need to adjust to this new normal whether we like it or not. Your safety is the priority, and we must do whatever is possible to enhance it at the gym.
Other gyms will vary in their need for protective equipment. Do your own research to wear what is most effective and comfortable in terms of protection. We are living in extraordinary times, and it takes extraordinary measures to remain safe and healthy.
Take responsibility not only for your own hygiene in the gym at the workout area but think of others. As a fitness community we need to clean/wash/wipe personal belongings after each session – including hand towels, phones, water bottles, headphones and any other personal belongings you have with you.
Hygiene Post Workout
If you are working out wearing gloves or a protective mask, it’s probably fairly obvious that your previous routine at the gym may have changed irrevocably. Cut out any unnecessary tasks after your workout such as shaving or blow drying your hair.
Try avoiding the changing room altogether if possible and get showered and changed at home. If you are a heavy sweater, bring spare dry clothes or at least a warm top for the ride home. Do not go from your body being in a warm state to a cold environment for an extended period of time and ease off the air conditioning on the ride home when possible.
Finally, get into the routine of thoroughly cleaning your hands on your way out of the gym, whether that be with warm soap and water, or with hand sanitizer.
As difficult as the Coronavirus has been, it has brought out the best of community spirit. Continue this feeling of community and think of others before going to the gym. Are you feeling even slightly unwell? Do not go to the gym and put yourself and others at risk, it is simply not worth it. Give yourself that day off, and know that the gym will be there for you in the future.
Make sure to help the gym staff by cleaning and wiping down equipment, and also talk to them about their latest hygiene policy. Many of the gym staff are working extremely hard to ensure that you are able to work out in a safe environment, work with them on any new protocol or protective equipment you have to wear at the gym and remember to thank them when possible. Ultimately gyms are businesses, and like everyone else they are trying their best to navigate these difficult waters and keep you safe. Let them know if they are doing a great job, they will be delighted with the feedback!
Crucially, respect social distancing as best as you can. The gym is a great social outlet for many of us, but unfortunately, for the moment, we will have to use it for its main purpose, to work out safely. Understand that everyone has a different perspective and are carrying different anxieties to the gym. Avoid any unnecessary conflict, and respect other gym users’ space when possible.
The Final Word
Many people have never been more eager to get the gym. At their best, gyms can act as a safety valve to release the intense pressure of daily life. That valve has perhaps never been more needed than now. Some people will enter the gym with no fear, others will tread more carefully and both points of view need to be respected. Take time to prepare for what you will do when the gym doors open and arrive with a plan to ensure that you are able to enjoy working out in a completely safe environment, not only for you, but for your friends, family and community.
Not ready to return to the gym just yet? Keep an eye out for our next blog which offers some helpful advice and solutions. In the meantime, check out Rubcorp’s Performance Line which has been specifically designed to take your home gym surfacing to the next level, ensuring that you can always be ready to achieve your fitness goals. We will be delighted to speak with you to ensure that you are ready for anything the world throws at you.