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Working out at the gym is a part of so many peoples' lives. The benefits attained through exercise and social interaction bring improvements to both physical and mental health. However, as many facilities have closed their doors over the past few months, working out in a gym has not been possible. Many people have shifted to at-home workouts and the fitness industry has completely changed due to COVID. So what can we expect of gyms after coronavirus?
As the current crisis continues (though lessening in some areas), many states are beginning to ease restrictions allowing for gyms and other businesses to reopen to the public. Though no national plan exists to instruct gym owners on reopening procedures, some individual states are offering guidance for safely opening facilities, including gyms.
For those eager to return to gym life and the owners who are ready to welcome back patrons, what will gym workouts look like in this era of phased reopenings and into the future? The places that have already reopened may give us a clue as to the direction gyms are headed.
We are all still trying to figure out what our lives will look like post-COVID-19. We want to know how we can stay safe while enjoying many of the activities that we have been missing. As Mdrive celebrated Men's Health Month this past June, highlighting ways for men to remain fit, we take a look at the new vision for gyms and in the fitness industry after COVID-19.
The gym environment has many layers that present multiple challenges to health and safety in a health crisis. They are places that are prone to moisture and therefore, germs. But also, the crowded nature of work out gym facilities allows for close contact of participants and surfaces continually being touched by numerous persons. Considering these factors, gym owners & fitness industry leaders need to implement practices that will address these risks.
The gym of the future will utilize enhanced cleaning practices. This will require employees to regularly disinfect all gym equipment regardless of usage as well as clients taking responsibility to clean the equipment after use. High-touch surfaces will also be routinely cleaned. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray will also be more abundant throughout gym facilities.
As you enter your gym, don't be surprised if your forehead is scanned to take your temperature. Checking for fever may now be standard practice. Also, many employees may be wearing masks and gloves and may encourage clients to wear masks as well.
To reduce crowding, many gyms may also limit exercise class sizes. When taking a spin class, for example, there may not be participants using the bikes to your left or right to maintain social distancing. You may also have to register for classes in advance to ensure they do not become overcrowded. Some classes may even be conducted outdoors, in gymnasiums, or on pool decks. Be sure to get used to outside gyms!
Guidelines may recommend that your gym reduce its overall capacity thereby limiting the number of people who can be on the premises. Also, some activities and services at your gym may be limited or altogether not available. Depending on state guidelines and the judgment of individual gym owners, you may or may not have access to certain aspects.
If you enjoy getting some swim time in as a part of your workout, you still may be able to do so once your gym reopens. There will likely be restrictions in terms of the number of persons allowed in the pool and surrounding area. If classes are offered in the pool, there will probably be restrictions on class size and frequency of classes. Some pools may not reopen immediately, however.
If you are a dad or other caregiver to a child, making use of the gym's childcare facility is a great convenience. Your gym may still operate their childcare space. If so, it will probably be with reduced capacity.
Locker rooms and showers can be areas in a gym that are highly susceptible to germs and covid. Your local gym may reopen these areas, but they may not. Again, it probably will depend on what is deemed best by the gym owner.
If you are tired of being cooped up in the house (we all are) and are ready to get back into the gym, there is good news! Many gyms are starting this process or have already reopened. Don't expect your gym to look or operate the way it did before it closed, though. If you are aware of these necessary changes in advance, you will be prepared to enjoy your workout experience as much as you once did.
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