Can’t wait to get back to the gym but nervous of being around others or getting injured? The team at Biofreeze share their top tips on how to stay safe when you go back the gym in terms of minimising your risk of coming into contact with the virus and avoiding injuries…
Change and shower at home
Not only will changing and showering at home reduce the time you’re in the gym, it will also reduce any chances of cross-contamination. Be sure to jump in the shower as soon as you get home and pop your workout clothing straight in the wash.
Get to know the new gym layout
It is likely that some equipment will have been removed or relocated within the gym to allow for enough space between those working out. Be sure to have a look around as soon as you arrive to get to know where everything now is to prevent wandering around aimlessly. Also, be sure to locate all cleaning products upon entering the gym so you know where to go, what’s available and what to use. If you’re not sure, the staff within the gym will be more than happy to help.
Keep your towel for your face and body only
Everyone is sweating and panting in the gym, and many carry their own towels – both to wipe themselves down and to wipe equipment down with. Your towel should only be used on your person. Be sure to use separate items to clean down any equipment and machinery after use such as anti-bacterial wipes or towel. And, of course, be sure to dispose of them after each and every use.
Consider booking onto classes
Classes aren’t for everyone – many prefer weight sessions or working out alone within the gym – but classes are going to be one of the safest spots within gyms when they reopen. Class sizes will be reduced to allow for adequate workout space and they will also have their own equipment – so when the gym is busy, you know that you’ll not only get a good workout but also be using the relevant equipment to aid you.
Pay attention to your breathing
Everyone sweats when they exercise but now is the best time to learn to get your breathing under control. Not only will it help to reduce contamination within the air, it will also allow you to have a more targeted and controlled workout. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Make deep, small breaths so that you don’t open your mouth wide when breathing out and aim your face downwards, where safe to do so, instead of out into the rest of the gym.
Keep your distance
It’s not uncommon to have people standing nearby while you’re working out in the gym, by way of saying they’re next in line for the equipment that you’re working on. This isn’t going to be possible for the foreseeable, with social distancing guidelines recommending a distance of between 1 to 2 metres. Instead of lingering, waiting for a machine or piece of equipment to become free, look around and see what else might be free that you can work with.
Take care of your body
Be sure to properly stretch before and after a workout. Yes, they take time, but they’re imperative to a good and safe workout and will minimise post-workout soreness the next day. If you decide it’s safer to stretch at home, don’t forget – set an alarm to remind you if you need to.
Accept the setbacks
No matter how physically active you were before COVID-19, it’s likely that you’ve found motivation may have been lacking or just that you’re unable to do your usual workouts and therefore have had to reduce your physical output. With this in mind, you’re going to have taken a setback and it’s important to accept this. Don’t go back to the gym and assume you can lift the weights you were once lifting, or that you can run on the treadmill for quite as long as you could beforehand. Start small and build yourself back up. If not, there’s a very good chance that you will pick up an injury.
Listen to your body
You will likely feel sore for the first few days or weeks after returning to the gym, so listen to your body. Yes, in many instances you’re advised to push through DOMS and get back into the gym, but you will know better than anyone what your body can and can’t take. Listen to it in order to avoid and injury.