Is it safe to go back to the gym yet?

As gyms begin to open back up you are probably wondering when will it be safe to go back to the gym. Is it safe to go back to the gym on the first day? Or should you wait a little while?

Columbia YMCA gym and cardio equipment

You’ve been dedicated to your at home workouts and daily walks during the pandemic, and maybe you were even lucky enough to snag a dumb bell or two before they all disappeared from the virtual shelves.

While you might wipe down your machine or bench, we all know not everyone will do a thorough enough job of spraying and cleaning down their equipment.

What about those dumbbells, barbells and weight plates? We know they are rarely if ever sprayed down after each use.

I’ll admit that I wipe down cardio equipment and weight benches, but fall short on the rest.

Should you go when the gym reopens?

I’m still skeptical even though gyms have been opening in different parts of the country during the past couple of weeks. In South Carolina, close contact businesses including gyms are allowed this week with guidelines put together with guidance from the CDC and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The guidelines are a little more than I expected. But for me, I going to keep my workouts to home and outdoors.

I was a fan of some outdoor before the pandemic for running and for HIIT workouts. And since we have been home, outdoors continues to be my home gym.

Outdoors makes it easier to socially distance unless you are running with a pack of people.

If you live in a dense urban area with a lot of people or little access to nature, going outside for exercise may not be an easy option for you.

How to stay safe when you go back to the gym?

If you have no other option but to go to a gym, try to go at an off hour when it’s likely to be less crowded like early morning, late morning or later in the evening. Avoid lunchtime and right after work because those are usually the busiest time.

It is recommended to wear your mask while you work out.

When you use equipment at a gym, be extra vigilant about cleaning it before and after you use. Remember, when we sweat and wipe our face and then touch the handle, we’re constantly exposing and saturating that device with germs.

Sweat is a constant in gyms. Every piece of equipment you touch has been touched by someone else’s sweat.

The possibility of the virus living on weights or mats makes the gym a risk for transmission.

What should you ask at your gym?

  • Ask about what particular measures your gym is implementing for cleaning?
  • Do you have to wear a mask in the gym?
  • If you take fitness classes, are classes limited by size?
  • Will the gym operate on a new schedule?
  • Will the gym close during the day for midday cleaning?
  • Are any services you use to using prohibited (i.e. towel service, locker room, basketball court, pool, showers)?

Then ask yourself, how much of a risk are you ok with taking?

I’m a member of the YMCA but I have no plans of returning to the gym yet. I am not comfortable with being in the gym even though they have shared changes being made. Ask me next month and my answer might be different.

I’m considering changing my workout time to one hour before the gym closes in hopes that there will be less people in there. I can get my strength training done in less than an hour and then come on home. But, we’ll see.

Are you returning to the gym when it opens?

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