Some considerations for exercising at the gym during a pandemic

After more than two months of easing calls for staying at home in Indonesia, a number of non-food businesses, including gyms, are slowly starting to reopen. So, is it safe to exercise in the gym amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Is it safe to exercise in the gym during COVID-19?

Please note that gyms have a risk of transmitting COVID-19 because most people don’t wear masks when exercising. What’s more, you will share the air with other people in the same room for approximately 30 minutes. 

According to Catherine Troisi, PhD, an epidemiologist at Texas University, exercising in the gym during the COVID-19 pandemic will be more difficult. The reason is, there are a lot of bacteria attached to the machine and it is difficult to clean. 

Exercising in the gym during the pandemic is always a risk, especially when the room is not well ventilated. In fact, you also have to share gym equipment with strangers whose conditions are not known.

Therefore, people may need to carefully consider returning there. However, when you are sure, there are several efforts to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the gym that can be done. 

Tips for safe exercise in the gym during COVID-19

The risk of transmitting sports in the gym during the COVID-19 pandemic will always exist. However, there are several things that can be done to reduce the risk of spreading the virus when exercising in public places , such as a gym or fitness center. 

1. More distance keeping from others

One of the tips that can be done to reduce the risk of transmission when exercising in the gym when COVID-19 is to keep more distance from other people. 

Physical distancing is important. However, people who exercise tend to exhale more frequently and may expel the droplets further. Therefore, it is advisable for those of you who want to exercise in the gym to keep a distance from other people of more than 2-3 meters to be safe. 

2. Wash your hands more often

Apart from keeping your distance, another tip when exercising in the gym during the COVID-19 pandemic is washing your hands more often. The appeal for hand hygiene has existed since the beginning of this pandemic. 

Habits when exercising, namely touching the face more often to wipe sweat or removing hair, make washing hands more necessary. We recommend that you wash your hands after every use of the gym. 

If the washing area feels too far away, you can bring and use a hand sanitizer instead of water and soap. However, washing your hands with soap is better because it is more effective at killing bacteria and viruses. 

3. Clean gym equipment before use

The health protocol issued by the government requires every business manager to clean goods with a disinfectant . However, it doesn’t hurt to bring additional disinfectant when exercising in the gym during COVID-19

This aims to ensure that the sports equipment to be used is free from droplets (saliva splashes)  that may be contaminated with the virus. After cleaning the appliance to be used, try to wait 1-2 minutes before using it. 

This is because most disinfectant wipes and sprays require you to keep the surface of the item wet so that the virus is completely removed.

4. Bring more towels

Towels are quite important items when someone is exercising at the gym, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exercise makes a person touch his face more with his hands , whether it’s to wipe sweat or brush his hair. 

Try to only use one side of the towel before putting it in the bag. This is so that you don’t touch the part of the towel that may be contaminated and rub it on your face or eyes. 

5. Hasten to shower after the gym

By bringing more towels, it doesn’t mean that you are encouraged to take a shower in the gym after exercising amid COVID-19. This is because you will share a fairly narrow room with other people when bathing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable coming home sweating, showering in the gym is okay as long as it doesn’t take too long. After cleaning at the gym, it is highly recommended to return to bathing at home as an extra effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 .

Another alternative is that you can replace the sweat-soaked clothes with dry ones before returning home. Then take a bath at home and clean the body after being outside the house.

Exercising at home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is actually safer than being in the gym for a few hours. However, for those of you who may be accustomed to exercising there, don’t forget to practice hand hygiene while there.

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