Guide to safely going to the gym during outbreak

Guide to safely going to the gym during outbreak

It’s important to stay fit for your mental health and to boost your immunity. Here’s how to do it without cancelling your membership. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the ban on non-essential gathering of 100 people or more in enclosed spaces to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

According to this new guideline, boutique gyms and smaller classes are still fine to attend – as long as there are less than 100 people.

This is one factor that may affect your decision-process when it comes to attending your regular gym class.

But the other comes down to cleanliness.

Research conducted by a lab for Fit Rated found the average yoga mat contains up to 100,000 bacteria per cubic centimetre, which is eight times more than a toilet seat. Free weights were found to have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat and exercise bikes carried more bacteria than a plastic reusable cafeteria tray.

This makes gyms a hotspot for germs to spread.

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But since majority of us are working from home, practicing social distancing or opting to self-isolate, it’s important to keep your body moving for your physical and mental health – and gyms are doing everything they can to continue to provide safe and clean services to their customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, Sydney boutique gym Flow Athletic has ramped up their hygiene standards. “Honestly, at the moment Flow Athletic is cleaner than anything else,” founder Ben Lucas tells body+soul.

“We have a full-time cleaners who wipe everything the second you leave it and we are only filling classes to 50 per cent capacity to make sure everyone has a space between them.”

Popular fitness studio Barry’s Bootcamp, have also enforced similar precautions. In an email, the studio stated all classes will now be booked at 50 per cent capacity, classes will be cut shorter “to allow for a deep clean between each and every class”, and even more hand sanitiser and wipe stations have been added to all studios.

So no, you shouldn’t skip the gym entirely.

Lucas also points out it’s a crucial time keep your immunity strong through fitness.

“Sticking to studios and smaller classes is a great way to keep your fitness up as boosting your immune system is important in helping you not get sick or fight it off quickly.”

However, you should be taking extra precautions at the gym. Here’s exactly how to workout safely at the gym during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Lucas:

  • Make sure the studio you train at is being hygienic.
  • In addition to their measures, wipe down your own equipment and mats, too.
  • If in yoga, bring your own mat.
  • If you borrow a yoga mat, place a towel over the top of it. The same goes for bolsters.
  • Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Bring inners when doing boxing classes, or better still, bring your own gloves.

Essential coronavirus reading: what you need to know

How Australians should sensibly prepare for a COVID-19 pandemic, the most dangerous myths to not buy into, why surgical face masks aren’t the answer, the five-step hand washing method to memorise, the proper way to use hand sanitiser, why hand dryers are a part of the problem and the seven most effective ways to protect yourself, according to a doctor.

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