Heading to the Gym? Follow These Instructions
By Methmal Subasinghe
Our lifestyles had to undergo a complete change with the Corona virus outbreak. Our usual habits and practices were required to be changed to face the unprecedented problem.
Our day-to-day lives, work and all the areas of our life is modified according to the guidelines issued by the medical authorities. Although patients affected with Covid-19 are still being reported in small numbers, the country is back to normal for the citizens to fulfill their most essential requirements.
Some sectors including transportation, tourism, sports, education, healthcare, agriculture and trade are presently functioning with adaptation of preventive measures. Although, this manner of living is alien to most of us, it should be mentioned that the people adapted to the situation rapidly than expected.
Places of work have been already reopened for the employees to resume their work. Although keeping oneself fit by engaging in exercises is paramount, enough attention was not been paid to reopening gymnasiums or the other public exercise centres that help persons be physically fit and healthy. Authorities are of the view that gymnasiums are not an essential service; hence there was a delay in reopening the gyms for the public.
As the restrictions that had been laid down by the authorities with the onset of Covid-19 infection are being gradually relaxing, gymnasiums have now opened with the permission of Public Health Inspectors as well as other authorities.
Gymnasiums are crowded places and those who attend such places are required to touch and use the equipment used by other persons which contributes to the rapid spread of infections such as Covid-19. If those who are enthusiastic about going to gym to keep themselves fit and healthy, if they do not follow health guidelines and are reckless this can have serious repercussions. That will not only put themselves in danger but also the others.
Having to share equipment and not having adequate ventilation are common problems in gymnasiums. Moreover, persons who exercises tend to breathe fast during exercises and if any of them is infected with Covid-19, others in the gym run the risk of being infected too. It is difficult to prevent the equipment in the gym from being contaminated by human fluids such as sweat and saliva. Since a person who does workouts tend to shed more sweat, he involuntarily touches face to wipe the sweat frequently. The surfaces of the equipment in gym can be contaminated by Covid-19 virus when a sweating person touches his face, mouth and nose. If a healthy person touches such surfaces and he can be infected.
People go to gym to lead a healthy life and not to be infected with viruses and be ill. Hence, special attention should be paid by the gym owners as well as the public who obtain the service of gyms.
For Gym Owners and Trainers
Dealing with a deadly pandemic like this is not at all easy and can also incur extra cost in any filed. Gymnasiums should also follow health guidelines if they are planning to reopen any soon with the proper permission of the authorities. Frequent disinfection is paramount to keep the virus at bay although it may be expensive. It is vital to restrict the number of persons entering the gym at one time and to maintain proper (one metre) distance between them. Time each person spends in the gym should also be minimised as a health precaution. Trainers must try to stay away from those who are exercising during Covid-19 period. Touching the body of those who exercise should be avoided. Trainers can issue verbal instructions or can demonstrate a particular posture to them without getting closer to them or touching their bodies to correct posture.
Once a group of persons have used the equipment, it is important to disinfect them properly. Sanitizers should be made available at the entrance to clean hands.
Optimising ventilation in the gym is also crucial. Inflow of natural air is highly recommended as fans or air conditioners might propel aerosols containing virus.
For Gym Goers
Your health is in your hands. To prevent from Covid-19 infection, you should be responsible of yourself. That will save your life as well as others’ lives. If you feel unwell, avoid going to gym (in fact, you should not go anywhere). That will help stop the spread of diseases as well as to mitigate your illness.
A bottle of sanitizer is the most important item in your bag, if you are going to the gym. Wearing gloves when using the gym equipment can prevent the infection of virus. You need to bear in mind not to touch your body parts, cloth or belongings with that workout gloves. Gloves should be removed before touching your body as well as your personal belongings.
Maintaining distance with others in the gym is a requirement. Avoid using water taps to drink water or to wash your face. It is highly advisable to bring a bottle of water from home so that only you can use it. If you used to take shower at the gym, it is not at all a healthy option to do during this period.
Since face masks should be put on when going out of the house, wearing masks inside the gym while doing exercises may not be advisable. Different people hold different opinions on wearing face masks while exercising. Some people with respiratory illnesses may find it difficult to exercise while the face mask is on. A mask restricts the amount of oxygen that is going into lungs. A large amount of oxygen is required for lungs during workouts and when the required amount of air is not received, it may cause difficulties. Some people experience shortness in breath, numbness in limbs, faintish, dizziness and light headedness during exercises if they put a face mask while exercising. Hence, face masks are not advisable for them during exercises. When face mask is put, some might feel fatigue sooner than usual.
However, it is advisable to begin the workout routine at a lower level of intensity at the gym. You need not engage in high intensity workouts and moderate exercises may give you better results.
If you follow proper guidelines when using gym, you can take care of your health without endangering it. Exercise is vital for a healthy life. Therefore, do not stay away too long from exercising as you may adapt to a lethargic lifestyle in the absence of exercise. Take extra care when going to gym and doing exercises.
The writer is an MBBS undergraduate at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya and a freelance fitness consultant. He holds a Higher Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science.