5 Ways To Practice Gym Etiquette During COVID-19
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
26 September 2020
Community cases might be down, but we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Here’s how to enjoy your workout while being courteous to those around you.
It’s ironic how we all rush to the gym for health and fitness, yet gyms are probably some of the ‘germiest’ places possible. All that sweat, people packed together in close quarters, heavy breathing… it’s not pleasant if your gym isn’t well ventilated. While maintaining responsible gym etiquette at all times is important, it is more important now, during this phase of social distancing and staying indoors as much as possible. Staying fit and healthy is also important, so don’t stop going to the gym if you can.
But when you do go, practice these few things so that you and your fellow workout buddies stay safe and healthy:
1. Avoid going at peak hours
It may seem obvious, but many people forget that adjusting your gym time by a mere half an hour can sometimes make so much difference and help in ‘flattening the curve’. If you’re lucky enough to have a 24-hr gym, go in earlier or much later to avoid the rush times when the gym is jam-packed. Most gyms have booking slots nowadays, so make sure you stick with your allocated timing adhering to any rules about intermingling between different groups.
2. Wear protective attire
Trendy sportswear is cool and all the rage, but take common sense over fashion right now. Wearing the right gear can help protect you at the gym (as in other crowded places too). Consider wearing long sleeved workout clothes to protect your skin from hosting the virus and bringing it close to your mucus membranes. It really is that simple.
3. Use more towels
You’re probably already taking a towel to the gym. At times like this, it’s prudent to take at least two instead - one to spread across each machine and one to wipe sweat from your face. Just remember to remain conscious of what surfaces the fabric touches, and which sections are still clean. Wipe down everything you use, before and after you use it. While some gyms might still be providing mats and towels, it’s probably best to bring your own, or at the very least, to help disinfect any equipment that you use.
4. Forgo the water cooler and bring in your own water bottle
Minimising touching as many surfaces as possible right now is sensible, so bring your own filled 1-litre bottle with you, instead of taking water breaks at the cooler and potentially sipping directly from the dispenser stream. A litre should be more than enough even if you are in the gym for over an hour.
5. Consider temporarily postponing your group fitness classes
Air circulation and ventilation is very important when going to the gym or fitness studios. Depending upon the type of exercise being performed in the class or in the weight room, there may be a higher risk of transmission. For instance, heavy exertion can lead to extra oral or nasal secretions flying around. And if your room is not well ventilated (in addition to being a full packed class), the chances of you contracting the virus go up significantly. Common sense would be to exercise in a more open area during these times, rather than be cooped up in a room.
Finally, remember to greet your trainer and gym buddies with a wave instead of a hug or high-five. Stay safe and enjoy your weekend workout!