Most fitness gyms already had good cleanliness and sanitation standards even before the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more necessary. Since these facilities often have people in proximity, many breathing heavily during strenuous sets of workouts, the potential for transmission of the novel coronavirus was highly likely.
Government restrictions forced many fitness centers to temporarily close, leaving many members without a suitable venue for exercise. Now, as the public health situation improves, cities in lockdown are being opened and restrictions are gradually being lifted. The good news is, fitness centers are stepping up their game to make sure the clients can work out in an ever safer yet enjoyable way.
Improved Air Quality
Many of the top tier gyms already had high-quality air curtains installed at the entrance. This equipment effectively stabilizes air temperature inside the facility, regardless of the weather outside. At the same time, it blocks out dust and other air pollutants. As a result, the air is clean and the atmosphere is comfortable for gym-goers.
Having clean air in the room is very important for workouts. Oxygen is essential for muscle performance because it is used for a process called cellular respiration. When we breathe air, the oxygen content is absorbed in the bloodstream for distribution to the muscles all over the body. The oxygen is used to convert sugars in the body called glucose into energy. This energy is called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP. This is the reason why people breathe faster during exercise, the body requires more oxygen to produce more energy for the body.
Another good preparation made by responsible gym owners is the setting up of workout pods. A workout pod is an enclosure made of aluminum or wood frames that have a transparent plastic sheet or polycarbonate plastics. The pod serves as a barrier against water droplets from people’s mouths that are expelled naturally when speaking, breathing heavily, or when they sneeze or cough without covering their mouth. The novel coronavirus can be passed on to other people when they come into contact with water droplets from an infected person.
Gyms were able to set up pods by grouping specific fitness equipment. For example, in one pod, they placed a barbell set, a dumb bell set, a sit-up bench, and exercise bands. A simple resistance exercise program can be done using those sets of weights. The exercise bands are to be used for other movements or exercises that cannot be done using a barbell or dumb bell. The main goal of the pod is to avoid sharing of weightlifting equipment among gym users. In that way, the gym can help reduce the possible transmission of the virus inside the facility. All this equipment and the pod itself are thoroughly sanitized by gym staff after each workout session.
Face Masks and Shield for Contact Sports
Some gyms still require the use of face masks and shields for those who want to use the facilities. The face mask and shield are especially useful when engaging in contact sports. For example, boxing gyms allow those who train to hit the pads or mitts with a trainer as long as both of the wear the said personal protection equipment. Physical distancing is also observed in all areas or workout stations.
The effectiveness of the face mask, particularly the medical-grade mask, has already been established, at least for blocking water droplets. In a study, it was found that hundreds of water droplets measuring 20 to 500 micrometers are expelled from the mouth just by speaking a few words. Previous studies also showed that face masks reduced the spread of the flu virus by preventing contaminated water droplets from being passed and inhaled directly by other people; or if the droplets fall on surfaces that are touched by other people, who, use the same hands to touch their nose, mouth, or even their eyes.
However, masks with ventilation valves are not advisable because these types of masks do not effectively stop the spread of the virus. Moreover, children below two years old should not be made to wear masks since their breathing might be impeded.
Before and After Shower
The larger gyms establishments already have built-in designated, individual shower rooms for men and women. Before the pandemic, taking a shower was only observed by most gym members after they complete a workout or a session. These days, everyone is encouraged to have a shower even before they start a fitness routine or join a class. A good shower with soap effectively removes bacteria and viruses from the body.
Good Health, Less Prone to Disease
Doctors and fitness experts say that physical exercise, combined with eating healthy food and getting enough rest and sleep can significantly increase the body’s immune system. By going to the gym to exercise, people can stay healthy and make themselves less prone to infections. With good sanitation standards and proper self-protection, people can go to their gym and continue living an active and healthy lifestyle.