Debunking Myths Surrounding Working Out at the Gym During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fitness First

There has been much discussion over the safety of working out in the gym during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as with any outing you go on or activity you engage with, there are things you can do to make it a safer experience.

While there is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19 and how it works, there are a few myths floating around about coronavirus and the gym, so given everything we know so far, we’re going to try to debunk them.

— You’re more likely to get COVID-19 at the gym

This doesn’t seem to be true. While there have definitely been cases linked to gyms, there have also been cases of COVID-19 infections linked to pubs, cafes and restaurants (and much more frequently, as well). Gyms are not responsible for the majority of community transmission in Australia.

The concern around gyms is due to people sweating and breathing heavily which could result in the transmission of COVID-19 in respiratory droplets and it’s valid. But, this is where social distancing and cleaning measures come into play. Ensure you always take your own towel and wipe down machines before and after use. And, as always, stay home if you’re not well.

Fitness First
Image: Fitness First

COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be acting all that different in a gym scenario (when compared to other indoor venues) as there haven’t been significant clusters connected to gyms across the country. There’s currently no evidence that shows you have a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 at the gym compared to a restaurant or cafe.

— Gyms are dirty

Just because gyms contain people who are perspiring doesn’t automatically make them dirty. In fact, most gyms are probably cleaner than your home thanks to all the frequent cleaning and sanitising going on. When was the last time you cleaned your home 10 times in one day? Don’t worry, us either.

But, despite these cleaning measures, that doesn’t mean you can slack on your own hygiene. Washing your hands when you arrive at the gym and using hand sanitiser (which should be readily available around the gym) before touching any equipment is important.

If you’re feeling unsure about using equipment provided by your gym, consider bringing what you can from home. For example, bring your own yoga mat to class instead of hiring one and consider showering at home, instead of using the facilities provided.

— Gyms will never be the same again

This is a common refrain that has popped up since gyms reopened in many states and territories in June. But, in many ways, gyms will end up being better because of these increased safety measures.

This new awareness we all have has made many gym-goers much more conscious and considerate of others and themselves, which is always a good thing. And the strict cleaning schedules and social distancing measures are ultimately positive changes. Who doesn’t want an ultra-clean gym with more space to workout?

Fitness First
Image: Fitness First

To make your gym sesh as safe as it can possibly be, try to follow these measures:

  • Avoid touching your face while working out. No matter how sweaty you are, fight the urge to touch your face at all!
  • Practise social distancing while working out to make sure you have enough room and so do others around you
  • Bring your own water bottle with you and avoid refilling your bottle at the water station
  • Head to the gym at off-peak times when it’s more likely to be quiet
  • If you’re feeling even a little under the weather, simply don’t go to the gym. If you’re not sure if you’ve got a cold, allergies or COVID, play it safe and stay home
  • If you’re feeling apprehensive about the cleaning schedule at your gym, simply give the team a call to enquire about the current COVID-19 measures that are being taken
  • Same goes for social distancing measures. Simply ask the team how this is being enforced and they’ll be able to fill you in because ultimately, they want to make you feel safe and comfortable when you workout
  • In NSW, all gyms and fitness studios must have a Hygiene Marshal present during operating hours to ensure the safety of gym-goers

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