Going Back to the Gym Post-Covid Closures

going back to the gym

So you stayed healthy during quarantine? Congratulations!

It wasn’t easy, and not just because of the virus. Being locked up inside our homes was a pretty effective way to stay clear of infection, but it sure didn’t help when it came to exercise and fitness. Plenty of us fell into the trap of oversnacking as we spent our days endlessly refreshing our news feeds, waiting for the world to end around us. Fortunately the world stepped up with options for those with the self-discipline to take advantage of them. But for the rest of us … well worries about Covid-19 have been replaced by worries about the Covid-20 pounds we’ve put on over the last year and change.

So Is It Time to Go Back to the Gym?

We’ve written about this before … and more than once. But with more people vaccinated and gyms reopening — in spite the latest crest of this pandemic and fears of a severe upcoming flu season— many people are slowly heading back to their old routines.

Going back to the gym remains risky for all the reasons we’ve been hearing about endlessly all year: new variants, breakthroughs, the large number of people still unvaccinated, etc. But many people are tired of waiting and they’ve begun to weigh their risks against the value of what they’ve lost. And for a lot of people, that means renewing their lapsed gym memberships.

So here’s a recap of how to make your return to the post Covid gym as safe as possible:

Wear a Mask

We’re all tired of masks. Masks are even worse when you’re running around and sweating and jumping up and down and breathing heavily. But masks are one of the best things you can do to prevent the spread of infection. Anecdotally, we’ve heard that plenty of people are putting aside their masks even in crowded gym classes. If that’s the case at your gym, maybe think twice. Maybe take another look at those online options.

Maintain Physical Distance and Avoid Crowded Spaces

Does six feet really seem like enough when everyone is gasping for breath in a room that’s hot and humid from sweat and body heat? How close are the machines and weights in your gym? How crowded are the classes? How big are the rooms and how high are the ceilings? Is there a filtered air conditioning system? These are all things to consider before you sign up for a new membership.

Is Everyone Vaccinated?

You can never really know the answer to this question, but it helps if your gym has a policy in place requiring proof of vaccination. Lax enforcement or just one person skirting the rules can undermine everyone’s safety But you’ll be much safer in a gym that requires vaccination than in one that caters to the unvaccinated.

Exercise Outdoors

Yes, another winter is coming. But if the weather outside is agreeable, it’s much better than a stuffy room.

Wash Your Hands

It’s polite. It’s courteous. It’s good for you and your fellow gym-goers. While you’re at it, clean any equipment before and after you use it. This isn’t just about Covid, it’s because the gym can be a pretty gross place even on a good day.

Get a Flu Shot

Yup, that time of year is coming up again. Last year’s flu was almost non-existent because we were all hunkered down hiding from Covid. This year with people venturing out again, there are concerns that the flu will be especially harsh — especially coinciding with ongoing hospital limitations related to the pandemic. So protect yourself and those around you with a flu shot. It’s the least you can do.