How to avoid coronavirus at the gym
At this point coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global health threat. Thousands have been infected, and the mortality rate is far higher than the regular flu. Does this mean you need to stop going to the gym? Maybe not. Here are some tips and tricks for avoiding coronavirus while visiting the gym.
Can you get coronavirus at the gym?
Yes! Coronavirus is a virus, just like the flu is a virus. This means you can get coronavirus in many of the same ways you might get the flu. The easiest way to get coronavirus is from a person who is infected with coronavirus.
This means, anywhere you go that is populated with other people is a potential place where coronavirus may live and spread. This includes the gym, but also includes stores, restaurants, bars, etc. Anywhere people gather is a potential place for the spread of germs.
It is still too early to know all the ways in which coronavirus spreads, but it seems like the most common way to get coronavirus is to be in close proximity to someone who has it. This means, if you are within six feet of someone who is infected for ten minutes or more, your chances of catching the virus increase.
This does not mean you will definitely get coronavirus if you are in contact with someone who has it, and it does not mean you are certain to get coronavirus if someone at your gym has the infection. There are steps you can take in your daily life and at the gym to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The gym is a great place for germs to spread
Should you stop going to the gym? That’s entirely up to you and your doctor to decide. Are you a higher risk individual? Are you an elderly individual? Do you have an underlying condition like asthma? These are all things to consider. If you are worried, reach out for advice from your doctor. A simple email asking them for advice is not a bad idea.
Specifically, gyms are a great place for germs to spread. At many gyms, people are in close proximity to one another for extended periods of time. People are sweating and touching the same equipment right after one another. This is a great way for germs to spread from one person to another.
Your two biggest worries when going to the gym are the close proximity to other people who may be infected and touching the same things that those people touch. It can take up to fourteen days for coronavirus symptoms to show up, so people can be sick without even knowing it. Someone without symptoms can easily got to the gym and spread the virus.
Scientists are still not certain about all the ways in which the virus spreads, but sweat is a bodily fluid that might contain the virus. There’s a lot of sweat at the gym.
How to avoid coronavirus at the gym
There are some steps you can take to lessen your exposure to coronavirus. Here are some ideas.
Don’t get too close to other people
Right now, scientists believe the most common vector for transferring coronavirus is directly from one person to another. This means someone touching someone else, coughing next to someone, etc. If you are going to the gym, limit the amount of close proximity you have with other people. For example, choose an elliptical machine that is sitting by itself, rather than choosing one next to a machine that is currently being used.
If you practice martial arts or something where people are right next to one another, or even touching one another, maybe consider taking a break from this sport. This type of activity is very high risk. Ask yourself, are you able to train without a partner? are these exercises you can do alone? Do you have to workout in a group or class setting? Maybe instead of sparing with a partner, use a punching bag.
Wipe things down
Wiping down equipment is common practice at a lot of gyms, but not everywhere, and not everyone does it. And don’t just wipe things down with a towel. Go get some disinfectant wipes and use those. A towel will likely just spread the germs. You need something that will clean and kill the germs.
A great investment would be a simple spray bottle filled with a disinfectant solution. Carry that around with you along with some cheap paper towels and wipe down equipment before and after you use it. The first gym I ever want to was a boxing gym, and every trainer made sure all their students had a spray bottle and paper towels and wiped down all the equipment. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gym as clean as that one.
In a gym you’re touching all the things that everyone else is touching. The spread of germs is super common. Not just coronavirus either. Ringworm, the flu, bacteria, etc. are all easily spread from people sharing exercise equipment. Do yourself a favor and start wiping things down if you don’t already.
Wash your hands
Your hands are another super common way for the virus to spread. Someone with coronavirus touches a doorknob, you then touch that doorknob and the virus is potentially on your hands. You then wipe some sweat out of your eyes with your hand, and bam, the virus is inside of you and now you are infected.
A super common way to get a virus into your body is get that virus on your hands and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. Those are three entry points for a virus to enter the inside of your body and infect you.
At a gym you might get the virus on other parts of your body, like on your legs or your back. But you never touch your face with your arms or back, and it is difficult for a virus to enter your body directly through your skin. That is why doctors are so focused on people washing their hands.
Keep the things that touch your face clean!
Keep cuts clean
Similarly to your face, a scratch or cut in a great way for infections to enter your body. If you practice a sport that leads to scratches, cuts, and any other sort of open wounds, you are adding new entry points for viruses and bacteria to enter your body. Be aware of this and try to clean any wounds you might get.
Workout with older people
This one might seem a little silly, but coronavirus hits the elderly especially hard. This means that elderly people are more likely to be concerned about the virus and are more likely to wash their hands and avoid getting the virus.
It also means that you will know if there is a coronavirus outbreak at your gym earlier. The elderly are likely to go to their doctor sooner if they start to develop symptoms. If you go to a gym filled with 20 year olds, some of them might get coronavirus and have very mild symptoms. Their symptoms might be so mild, and their fear of coronavirus so small, that they don’t even go to the doctor. Instead they might continue coming to the gym, infecting others without even realizing it.
Invest in a home gym
The best way to avoid coronavirus is to avoid contact with those who have it. A home gym is great because you don’t need to interact with anyone else to use it. Consider finding some space in your garage or around the house, and start thinking about ordering some equipment.