The world is reopening and people are beginning to get back into their normal routines. We are now able to travel easier, get our hair cut, and head back to the gym (finally!). However, many of these activities don’t feel quite the same just yet. As a society, we are working to find our new normal amidst the current COVID-19 outbreak, and potentially beyond. Mandatory face masks in many US cities and social distancing with reduced capacities in most public areas are becoming part of everyday life.
While wearing a mask and social distancing at the grocery store is something many of us are used to at this point, heading back to the gym naturally raises a few questions in terms of safety. Although many of us are very much ready to get our sweat on in the gym after months off, how can we ensure our own personal safety and the protection of others in a public setting where the sharing of equipment is part of the deal?
We’re breaking down everything you need to know in order to get back into the gym, safely.
Wear Your Mask
As you probably already know, many US cities are now requiring its citizens to wearfacial coverings when in public places, and gyms and fitness studios are no exception. “How can I possibly wear a mask and workout?” you ask? Fair Question! While wearing amask at the gym might seem a bit strange, it is absolutely doable. Most gyms require you to have aface mask on while entering or exiting the gym, as well as when walking from one machine to another, but not necessarily while performing your workout.
This naturally leads us to the next question: What type ofmask should I wear at the gym? This is where it can be a bit tricky. Typically, the most effectiveface masks have the most efficient filters which can make breathing, especially when working out, slightly more difficult. While that might not be an issue if you are lifting weights, having a breathable mask is imperative if you are wearing it during a strenuous cardio workout. Because of this, we recommend bringing disposable3 Ply face masks with you even if you do not plan to wear it during your actual workout.3 Ply masks are still effective at protecting against large droplets and bodily fluids at up to 95% efficiency, but they are more breathable than a N95 orKN95 mask. They are also constructed with soft inner materials that are easy on the face and feature comfortable ear loops that won't pull your ears forward or cause any discomfort over time.
What about cloth face masks? While reusable cloth face masks are definitely a convenient option, they will quickly become damp if you are sweating or breathing heavily. Once they get wet, they are more difficult to breathe through and become less effective at protecting against viruses and bacteria. While this can also be true for the disposable paper3 Ply face masks, we recommend bringing a few with you to switch out when needed. Having a few with you is important for 2 reasons:
- To switch out if the one you’re wearing gets damp with sweat or humid breath
- If you plan to take it off during your workout, you will have to put it down and risk it getting contaminated. Bring a few in a sealed bag to ensure you always have a clean option on hand.
While many gyms and fitness studios have increased their sanitizing practices, it is still a good idea to clean off the equipment you plan to use before and after use. Don’t forget to sanitize your free weights too!
Bring Your Own…
- Towel - most gyms are not offering towels but even if they are, you should bring your own.
- Hand Sanitizer - keep a small bottle with you to sanitize your hands after touching any equipment, especially the spray bottles of cleaner that are used by everyone!
- Water Bottle - now is not the time to use the community water fountain.
- Masks – if we haven’t emphasized this enough yet : )
Go At Off Hours
While many gyms have a reduced capacity limit for social distancing purposes, it is still a good practice to go at off hours whenever possible. The less people you are able to come into contact with, the less risk you have at spreading or contracting the virus.
Wash Your Hands
We all know this one, but it is worth repeating. Yes, hand sanitizer is a wonderful tool that should be used when washing your hands is not an option, but you should always wash your hands before you leave the gym and right when you get home to make extra sure they are squeaky clean.
These steps may seem like a lot to remember when you are first getting back into the swing of things, but the more you do them the easier they will seem and eventually they’ll be second nature to you. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is making sure you feel completely comfortable and safe before you head back to the gym.
Not Ready To Head Back To The Gym?
If you’re not ready, that’s okay! There are endlessresources for getting in a gym-qualityworkout right in the comfort and safely of your own home. Here are some of our recommendations for at home exercise equipment that will give you an amazing workout without having to leave the house:
- TRX Pro Suspension Trainer with Wall Mount
TRX bands have been growing in popularity recently. You can find them in pretty much any gym and even in smaller boutique fitness studios but did you know you can have these in your home also? This TRX Suspension Trainer Set also comes with a wall mount to easily place in any corner of your home. The best part is that you can perform seemingly endless workouts for every part of the body using this one handy piece of equipment that can be folded up and stored in a single small bag.
Get it here for $199.00
BodyPro Pull Up Assist Bands Set
Pull up bands are available in multiple resistance options for all fitness levels and a great option for building up strength to perform pull ups. Additionally, they double as standard resistance bands which are excellent for performing body weight strength training exercises. Similar to the TRX Suspension Trainer, they are small compact making them ideal for home workouts!
Get your set here for $55.99
Body Sport Ab Wheel
More than just a great ab workout, ab wheels work to build strength in your entire core while also targeting the shoulders, arms, entire back and even your legs. You can find various ab wheel workouts to target specific areas of the core for a dynamic strength building workout.
Get it here for $11.95
Ball Bearing Jump Rope
Jumping rope is a classic, well-rounded fitness tool that builds strength while also providing an excellent cardio workout to burn calories and improve heart health. While we love jump ropes for their health benefits, we also love them because they are small and can be taken anywhere!
Get one here for $23.95
Body Sport Exercise Mat
No matter what type of exercises you plan to do at home, you’re most likely going to need an exercise mat! From ab workouts to yoga poses, a mat protects for your back and joints while also providing a non slip surface.
Get one here for $24.99
Whether you’re heading back to the gym or sticking to home workouts, keeping yourself and those around you safe should be your top priority. Wear your mask, social distance and be safe out there!