One particularly frustrating aspect of the coronavirus pandemic is the inability to visit the gym. For months, gyms were closed due to the high risk of spreading the virus inside one. Now, gyms are slowly beginning to open up again to the public.
This is extremely problematic because gyms are one of the riskiest locations to spend time during a highly infectious pandemic. Even with safety precautions in place, there is no guarantee that you won’t get sick.
That said, you must still stay active because immobility poses many health risks. Without the gym, your best option is to work out at home or even outside away from others.
The point here is that working out at the gym is still not safe! To help you appreciate this and avoid heading back to the gym, we’ll look at why it’s dangerous below.
Social Distancing Is Difficult
To begin with, social distancing is difficult inside a confined gym.
Think about the size of your gym. If you go to a locally-owned establishment, it’s often fairly small. Chain gyms are usually larger, but many are not very big.
Social distancing is hard enough to do in a place like a grocery store, but it’s almost impossible in a gym. You’re likely to be working out close to other people simply because of the placement of machines and benches.
Even if gyms limit how many people are allowed inside at once, everyone is likely to move around at different times and this can have you constantly near others. If anyone is sick and coughs or sneezes near you, this puts you at risk of getting coronavirus.
Gyms are just too small and unequipped to handle the needs of constantly maintaining a 6-feet distance from other gym members.
Surfaces Are Frequently Touched
Another complication is that all of the gym’s surfaces are frequently touched.
Just about everything in the gym is getting touched. Dumbbells and barbells must be held to be used and machines are directly interacted with.
Taking things a step further, the locker rooms are another frequently-touched area. Other gym members are likely to touch their face and sweaty bodies, then touch surfaces like sink knobs, paper towel dispensers, lockers, benches, and mirrors.
Should someone be sick, you can get infected by touching a contaminated surface. Even with regular cleaning in a gym, it’s impossible to quickly address contaminated surfaces because you can’t always tell who is sick.
You don’t want to be touching anything that is frequented by others. The gym is one of the worst locations for this and makes a good reason to work out elsewhere.
Most gyms also have poor airflow.
This is another problem of gyms being small, but it also factors in their overall layout. A few key problems here make airflow minimal in most gyms.
Firstly, most gyms are filled with equipment. This takes up physical space and blocks air trying to pass by. What do you think has better airflow; an empty room or one full of objects?
Secondly, you’re going to be right next to other people working out. This means that you’re going to be breathing in the same space, which is incredibly dangerous if anyone is sick.
Lastly, the fans and circulation system used to keep a gym cool get dirty easily because of the abundance of germs and dirt tracked in by gym members. This makes them work less effectively, further reducing any airflow in the area.
Without good airflow, you’re constantly breathing the same air. During a time when you should be specifically distanced from others to avoid sharing air, this means that a gym is incredibly dangerous right now.
Others May Not Respect Safety Requirements
The last consideration is that you may do your best to stay safe, but other gym-goers may not respect safety requirements.
Think about how people are treating coronavirus out in public. Many aren’t wearing masks, feel free to gather in groups, and don’t see a need to stand six feet away from others.
While this thinking is foolish and has caused an increase in coronavirus cases, many people still believe that the pandemic is fake or insignificant. As a result, they just don’t respect the safety guidelines provided by health agencies.
The greatest example of this is wearing a mask. Many people do not enjoy wearing a mask, but it’s a great tool to help protect others in case you might be sick.
Masks should be worn at all times near others, including when exercising. This will cause the mask to get sweaty and hot, which will be highly uncomfortable. Others will likely take their mask off while exercising because it doesn’t seem important.
Pair this with other gym members constantly entering your space and failing to clean their equipment and it’s clear to see that others aren’t concerned for your safety.
While you may be longing to return to the gym, you should avoid working out in one. Gyms are still highly dangerous and make the risk of getting coronavirus high should anyone with the virus work out at the same gym.
A few reasons why gyms are not safe to include that social distancing is difficult inside them, surfaces are frequently touched, they have poor airflow, and other gym members won’t always respect the safety requirements.
Until coronavirus is over, you must continue to adhere to safety guidelines. This includes working out. Keep exercising at home or go outside for a safer alternative!