If you’re feeling trepidatious about returning to the gym, you’re not alone. Many facilities have increasing sanitation processes, but you still are at risk of contracting any illness in a public space. How can you hit the gym with the confidence to safely crush your workout?
Wash Your Hands
If you aren’t a pro at consistently washing your hands by now, it’s time to start. Hand sanitizer is great in a pinch, but if the opportunity to wash your hands arises, especially after hitting high traffic areas like front doors, hand washing is the way to go. Once you’re prepped and ready to start your workout, give your hands a good scrub down. Not only are you protecting yourself, but other gym members as well.
Go with a plan
Everyone knows that most effective workouts start with a plan. When planning your WOD (workout of the day), visualize where in the gym that will take you. If you can rearrange your workout to keep yourself in one space, rather than flitting back and forth across the gym floor, do it! Avoid supersets that may require you to hop on and off equipment that may be used by someone while you are elsewhere. You’ll have far more success and reduce your risk of exposure if you can focus on one piece of equipment at a time, in one area of the gym at a time.
Ditch your bag or downsize
If you like to haul around your gym bag with all your goodies, it may be time to reconsider. Try just carrying your water bottle–which you can and should wipe down–or utilize a smaller gym bag with just the essentials. Be mindful of what you need to carry with you and what can stay in your locker.
Wipe, Wipe, Wipe
Traditionally it has been good etiquette to wipe down your equipment after you are finished. However, not everyone seems carry the same commitment to cleanliness. Now more than ever, it pays to be kind and respectful to do so. As an added precaution, wipe down any equipment that you may use before you begin. Be mindful that items such as dumbbells and barbells are rarely wiped down, but see frequent contact.
Carry Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer works great when you can’t get to soap and water. Having a bottle on hand (or utilizing provided sanitizer at your facility) is a great idea after using the water fountain or finishing a class. It may also come in handy to simply ease your mind after utilizing high touch surfaces.
BYOM- Bring your own mat
Whether you’re a yogi, class go-er, or weightlifter, you can spare yourself some exposure by bringing your own mat. Mats are notorious for carrying a whole host of germs simply from multiple users and their oodles of sweat. Sanitize your mat before heading home.
Finish off in the sauna
Saunas are easily the cleanest room in your gym. The high temperature (>174°F) and low humidity create a inhospitable environment for germs of all types. A ten to twenty minute sauna session can not only relax you, but also boost your body’s immune system. Exposure to high temperatures promotes the creation of new white blood cells which go to work to fight off incoming infection. Sauna use can help protect you from the inside out.
Many of us are itching to get back to a normal routine, and with a few mindful changes, we can resume our favorite activities without an overwhelming spread of illness. So make a plan and stick to it.