Working it out

So here we are. The new normal.

As you’ll well know, fitness hubs were part of the lockdown on the 21st of March 2020, and their closures lead to a national effort to make the very best from working out from home, a lot of the time whilst also working from home.

As hospital numbers went down, and lockdowns started to ease, the question over gyms and swimming pools always remained. Can gyms be kept to a level of cleanliness so coronavirus won't spread? Is it wise to be sharing swimming water with others?

Well, just over a year and three lockdowns later, the government has decided that it is safe for sport and leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, to reopen.

However, when it comes to approaching the gym, it can still be a little confusing, so here we are to make it as simple and clear as possible.

  1. Get ready and shower at home. As the pandemic has led to remote working or WFH becoming commonplace, this may not seem as inconvenient as in previous times. In both getting ready at home and showering at home, you’ll be able to both complete your special shower routine and help out of those for whom showering at home isn’t an option. A double win!
  2. Check out and book gym classes online. In terms of entering the gym, booking a class is one of the safest ways to work out. The class sizes will be reduced, meaning there will be plenty of distance between each exerciser, plus each class has its equipment, meaning you’ll be able to safely access everything you need.
  3. Book in your workout time and get to know your gym’s new layout. To stay in line with social distancing rules, the numbers of people within gyms and swimming pools are being limited. Therefore you will probably need to plan and book for the time you will be arriving, especially during peak times. It’s also a good idea to see if your gym has an overview of what it is going to look like, as the layout may have changed, and some equipment may have even been removed.
  4. Keep an eye on your breathing. It may sound like a strange request in a place of fitness. However, in terms of basic gym etiquette in COVID times, it’s vitally important that those working out in the gym make sure they keep their breathing under control, especially as you cannot wear a mask whilst working out. By everyone being mindful of their breathing, the chances of the gym suffering an infection outbreak will be dramatically reduced.
  5. Protect others. As wearing masks whilst exercising isn’t seen to be the best way forward, other preventative measures have been put in place. Many gyms will provide barriers between the equipment, but there are also things you can do. These include wearing weight lifting gloves, wearing sleeved tops, and long trousers or skirts during the workout. Taking this precaution prevents other people’s sweat and germs from coming into contact with the skin, and by creating a barrier, lessens the chance of contamination.
  6. Look into booking online classes. While it’s completely understandable to want to get the very most out of your gym membership now that they're open, lockdown life has led to a wide array of online workout classes, many of which are continuing since restrictions have been lifted. Of course, there are times where only a gym workout will do, and obviously, not everyone has a home gym in their place of residence. However, if there is the chance you can do the same activity without having to leave the house, such as an aerobics or yoga class, it could be worth continuing with the online sessions for that little while longer.
  7. Use the correct apparatus for keeping your gym clean. Wiping down apparatus has been a part of basic gym etiquette for a long time, and long may it continue. However, instead of using your towel to wipe it down, it is now required that you use items such as sanitary wipes and antibacterial spray (that should be provided by the gym itself) to make sure it’s as safe as possible.
  8. Make it all about the workout. While many people see a trip to a gym, pool, or leisure centre as a social trip, it’s now really important that you keep it all about the workout. Try as much as possible to social distance during yours and someone else's workout.
  9. Stay focused, stay flexible. While in normal life the gym would be a place for visitors to unwind, spend as much time as they want around the equipment, and get lost in their workout routine. With the current situation, however, try to be aware of others looking to use the equipment, and if you can, have a targeted time or rep count you want to get to before moving on.
  10. Feeling unwell? Stay home. You’ll likely have heard this information throughout the year, yet it still very much applies. Although it’s not necessarily COVID, if you are feeling unwell, it’s wise to stay away from the gym for at least ten days and if possible, continue your fitness routine at home.

And finally...

Not necessarily specific to attending the gym, but make sure you regularly wash and sanitise your hand after doing any sort of exercise, especially during a shared equipment-based workout.

Let’s all work together, and hopefully, we return to the gym life we all love soon!