As we enter a new year, many of us have set our sights on living healthier lives. Besides eating better, exercising is an essential component to achieving this goal. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season still in full swing, adhering to your fitness resolutions looks a little different this year.
It's more important than ever before that you take the proper measures to stop the spread of germs whenever you're in a gym or other fitness facility. Otherwise, your well-meaning exercise objectives could actually end up hurting your health as well as those around you.
From wearing coronavirus face mask protection to sanitizing frequently, let's review 8 safety tips you can practice to avoid gym germs and stay healthy.
1. Wash Your Hands Regularly and Avoid Touching Your Face
It's imperative that you practice good hygiene during your entire time in the gym. For example, pretend you're lifting weights, and maybe your nose starts itching, or a bead of sweat begins to form near your eye. Touching your face during these moments may seem harmless, but they're actually the perfect opportunity for germs to transfer from your hands to your face without you realizing it.
It's extremely hard to be cognizant of germs during every second of your exercise. So wash your hands before and after the gym. And don't hesitate to use hand sanitizer in between these times as often as you'd like.
2. Bring Your Own Exercise Essentials
Another great way to avoid gym germs is to bring as much of your own necessities as possible. Whether it's a water bottle, towels, or yoga mats, don't rely on your fitness facility for these exercise essentials. Also, be mindful of where you place this equipment while you're working out; you don't want to wipe your face with a towel that's been sitting on an unsanitized weight bench!
3. Avoid High Traffic Areas Like the Locker Room
Do your best to skip places like the locker room in your exercise facility. These areas not only have a ton of people going in and out, but they usually contain wet, damp areas as well as showers, saunas, and steam rooms — all of which are ideal breeding grounds for germs! Take your showers at home. This will also help to ensure that you don't stay in your sweaty, dirty gym attire too long after your workout session.
4. Wear Face Mask Protection
Gyms are crowded indoor areas containing a lot of people that are breathing heavily. So even if your gym isn't enforcing a face mask protection policy, wear one! Face coverings not only protect others from your germs, but they also protect you from others' germs. And since many people are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, you never know when the virus is in close proximity to you.
We know that working out with face mask protection on isn't exactly easy. But just think of the benefits it will bring to your cardio! And if you really find wearing a face mask to be unbearable during your fitness sessions, try alternate gear like a neck gaiter. They are great for breaking a sweat in!
Last but not least, always wash your hands before interacting with your face mask protection. And don't forget to frequently wash your mask.
5. Avoid Peak Times and Crowded Classes
Don't hesitate to call your gym up and inquire when peak hours are. Then use this information to schedule your workout sessions around those times.
Also, don't be afraid to ask about the protocols your fitness facility is taking for group classes. In general, these classes should contain far fewer people than before the pandemic, enough space for everyone to social distance, and individually used equipment that you can wipe down before and after your session.
6. Sanitize Everything You Touch
This one's pretty straightforward! Whether you're running on a treadmill or lifting weights, always take some time to wipe down the equipment before and after you use it.
7. Forget Gym Daycare Services For Now
Gym daycare services are typically less controlled environments than normal daycares. For this reason, it's probably best to avoid using them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. Be Mindful of Others
Remember that you can only control your own actions. So besides adhering to all of the tips that we've discussed so far, also be mindful of everyone around you. Did you notice that another gym patron constantly coughing or sneezing in the cardio area? Then move to another section of your fitness facility. Does the squat rack have a long line that's causing overcrowding? Move on to another segment of your exercise routine then.
9. Outdoor Exercise Is Still Safest
With a few cold months still ahead of us, many people will be turning to gyms to achieve their new year fitness resolutions. This makes these exercise facilities more prone to overcrowding. If you can, the safest thing you can do is to continue to work out in your living room or outside.
Prioritize Your Safety
We hope this list of tips helps you figure out what's best for your new year fitness resolutions! Remember, safety comes first. If you're feeling sick, please don't go to the gym. On the other hand, if you notice numerous people coughing and sneezing at your fitness facility, it may be best to start exercising at home. Stay safe out there!
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