Getting healthier, and staying that way, is important. The benefits of exercise to both our physical and mental health are proven and many. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have found ways to exercise safely outdoors.
If you’re like a lot of people, you might be ready and anxious to return to your local gym, wellness center or health club. If you choose to get your blood pumping in the gym, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the risks posed by COVID-19.
The main way COVID-19 infects people is through respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. Research shows COVID-19 spreads at gyms and studios and in fitness classes. To work out more safely indoors and in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that you:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Select a facility that requires all staff and attendees to wear a mask that always covers their mouth and nose.
- Look for gyms, fitness centers, or studios that have high ceilings and use ventilation practices such as opening doors and windows and use portable air cleaners that have HEPA filters.
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as machines and equipment, with disinfecting wipes before and after use.
- Wash your hands before and after using equipment.
- Go during off-peak times to avoid crowding and keep your workouts as brief as possible to avoid prolonged exposure.
You also should limit the indoor pursuit of high-intensity exercise such running, racquetball/squash, and spinning. You may want to avoid large group activities or training sessions as well. And, of course, stay home if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, you have tested positive for COVID-19 (or are waiting on test results), or if any of the people in your household or close contacts have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
By following a few basic precautions, you can more safely accomplish your health and fitness goals for 2021 and beyond.