The COVID-19 induced lockdown has caused people around the world to remain stuck at home over the past few months. There have been various ramifications of this widespread lockdown.
However, one of the most important consequences is that, without the ready availability of gyms and fitness centers, many people have fallen into sedentary lifestyles that could have harmful effects on their health in the long term.
With no office to go to and no schools to drop their kids at, now is the time when people need gyms and other fitness centers more than ever before. Even those who did not go to the gym before the lockdown could benefit from some vigorous lifestyle after six straight months of sitting at home.
Reopening Gyms while Keeping Health Concerns in Mind
The pandemic is still underway and a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is yet to be discovered. Opening the gyms without the appropriate safety measures would therefore be counterproductive. After all, the whole point of visiting the gym is to stay healthy and fit. If there was a risk of contracting COVID-19 when you visited the gym, then reopening them would serve no purpose.
Many health experts are recommending the reopening of gyms, as exercise helps reduce obesity. Obesity is one of the risk factors that can increase the risk of death from COVID-19 and double the odds of hospitalization. But in order to provide a safe space for their members, gyms must affect certain changes that will help minimize the risk of community transmission within their premises.
Some of the things that a gym or fitness center would need before it can be reopened to the public have been listed below.
- Temperature Checks
Before they can be reopened, all gyms must implement a reliable system of temperature checking at the point of entry. This is because a high fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Both gym members and staff should have their temperatures taken before entering the gym. If they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, they can be refused entry so that they cannot spread the disease to others at the gym.
Many establishments have already installed automatic, no-contact thermometers at their gates in order to maximize safety for customers and staff members alike. These instant, contactless thermometers are fast, reliable, cost-effective, and great at reducing the spread of the virus. They’re the best way to screen for the coronavirus infection without having to hire someone to stand at the gates and manually check the temperature of all comers.
- Partition Screens
When the gyms are reopened post-lockdown, they must make sure that the machines are sufficiently spaced out to minimize contact between gym-goers. Ideally, Perspex partition screens should be installed between the machines to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets when someone sneezes or coughs.
Perspex screens, combined with adequate spacing, would make gym-goers and staff members feel secure inside the premises and allow them to focus on their exercise. Cordoning off every other cardio machine and treadmill might also help encourage social distancing in the gym.
- Increased Hygiene
Members exercising at the gym must be required to disinfect their surroundings and clean up after themselves. This will help make the reopened gyms more hygienic and healthful than before. A steady supply of high-quality hand-sanitizers, disinfectants, and other relevant PPE products should be made available by the owners and managers of the gym.
Cleaning wipes and spray bottles should be placed near every machine in the establishment, in order to make it easier for the gym-goers to maintain hygiene. Hand-sanitizers with sufficient alcohol content should be distributed regularly throughout the workout zones. Many gyms are even planning to give every member their own towel and spray bottle.
- Reduced Participation
Another strategy that is being considered by many commercial establishments, including gyms and fitness centers, is a reduction in capacity, to control participation rates. Reducing the number of people who are allowed inside the gym at any given time could help minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. Reduced participation would make it easier for staff members to implement social distancing rules during workout sessions.
With many members now working from home, it would be easy to spread exercise timings out throughout the day instead of cramming everyone inside the gym at the same time. Trainers can, therefore, increase the number of classes they teach so as to limit the number of participants in any given class, thus minimizing the risk inherent in an indoor class.
Before reopening to the public, gyms will need to invest in some high-quality PPE products in order to minimize the risk of infection and ensure the safety of staff and members alike. For the best results, gym owners and managers should only purchase hand-sanitizers, disinfectants, contactless thermometers, and other such products from a reputed and trusted manufacturer of personal protective equipment.