As lockdown restrictions are being reduced over the world, people are opening their businesses. These businesses include fast-food restaurants, small businesses, and even gyms. However, the relief provided by the government doesn’t mean that the threat of COVID-19 infection is over, and you can do your daily activities as you used without worrying about the infection. The situation is quite the opposite, and as these businesses are opening up, people will flock to these places, and this will create a crowd. Thus, following social distancing and proper hygiene is a lot more essential in this situation.
A lot of people would be resuming their exercise regime and returning to gyms. An environment where you will touch surfaces that are covered in sweat, the threat of infection increases manifolds. The lack of knowledge about the spread of COVID-19 in a gym environment means that you need to be very careful while working out.
According to Dr. William Schnaffner, a Professor of Preventive Medicine And Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, any contact with people increases the risk of infection. It doesn’t depend on the fact that you are with your friends or working out in a gym. The safety of an individual depends not only on that person but also on the people around.
Schnaffer said that every time you do something that can lead to exposure to COVID-19, the risk increases. It doesn’t matter if the exposure is short-term or long-term as your susceptibility to COVID-19 depends a lot on your health. If you have a weak immune system or you suffer from a disease, or you are over 65 years in age, even a small exposure could lead to an infection. In these conditions, it is a lot safer if you avoid going to the gym, especially if you come in the group of people who are at a higher risk and try to work out in the safety of your home.
However, there is a possibility that you don’t want to or cannot work out at home and don’t want to disturb your exercise regime. In this case, you need to take extra precautions at the gym to make sure that you stay protected.
Exercise equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, handles of the treadmill, etc. are touched by countless people in a day. These people might be a carrier of disease without any symptoms. So, to keep yourself safe, you always spray the surface and sanitize the equipment before using them. A good practice would be to sanitize the equipment after you use it so that it is safe for the next person. This process of sanitizing is important not only during the pandemic but also during the regular days. However, during the current scenario sanitizing surfaces before touching them is absolutely necessary if you want to keep yourself safe.
Many gyms are providing sanitizers and spray to clean the equipment before using it, but it would be better if you bring your own sanitizers for extra safety.
To make sure that you don’t risk getting infected, avoid working out for long durations and avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily, and maybe avoid using locker rooms for a while. These locker rooms are small enclosed surfaces with many people using them during the day, thus turning these places into a hotbed for germs.
One of the most prominent cases of COVID-19 outbreak occurred in South Korea during a workshop on fitness. These workshops were conducted in small spaces, and the instructor happened to be infected with COVID-19 but showed no symptoms. A few days after this event, many of the participants started showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
After this case of a COVID-19 outbreak in a fitness class, health experts checked the participants who went to a yoga workshop. They discovered that people who participated in yoga classes were unaffected by the virus. This allowed the experts to establish a link between high-stress activity and the spread of the disease.
A closed space can easily accumulate germs that are sufficient in numbers to infect a healthy person within 30 minutes of exposure (The actual time varies depending on various factors). On the other hand, open spaces with plenty of fresh air don’t lead to germ build-up. So, exercising outdoors is a lot better option than exercising in a gym.
In the end, the most important pieces of advice that you need to follow are that of social distancing and proper hygiene. So, while you work out in a gym or any other place, ensure that you are at least seven to feet away from another person. Avoid touching contaminated surfaces and wash your hands regularly. In addition to this, avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouths in this condition. In case you need to wipe your face, use tissue papers instead of a towel. After completing the workout, prefer taking a shower at your home instead of the gym. It would be a lot safer.
Avoid touching any surface as they might be contaminated unless you wipe them with alcohol-based sanitizing wipes. These surfaces are not restricted to gym equipment, but also railings, door handles, seats, etc.
The threat of COVID-19 is still looming over us, and businesses getting opened doesn’t mean that we can stop taking precautions. If you are going outside for work or leisure, ensure that you follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines. If you belong to the group of people who are at a higher risk of infection, then avoid going outside unless necessary.
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