Although gyms and fitness studios are places to get healthy and fit, they are also breeding grounds for germs that can make you unfit and sick. Here are some basic guidelines to follow to best ensure your wellbeing during this Covid-19 Flu season. I strongly recommend reading the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations.
- If you are sick with cold and flu symptoms STAY HOME. Think about it, you wouldn’t want to be around a sick person if you were healthy. So why would you go to the gym if you were sick? In other words, be considerate.
- Do not touch your face—especially your nose, mouth or eyes. These are the areas where the flu invades your body.
- Wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after your workout. Here is an excellent proper handwashing video by the CDC https://youtu.be/d914EnpU4Fo
- See a sick person who is coughing or sneezing? Keep a safe distance of at least six feet. That is how far air borne flu droplets can travel and infect you. Avoid any and all gym equipment they touched. Immediately inform a gym employee and ask for that person to be removed, so they do not infect and spread disease. Do not conform them. Most folks seem to be tense and pretty wound up right now, so the anyone needs is to get into an altercation.
- Wipe down machines before and after you use them with disinfectant wipes. When a person sneezes, they launch a sheet of fluid that breaks apart in different directions. That means the equipment in front of, to the left, and right of that sick person is infected and can infect you. Be liberal with the amount of wipes you use. For example when I am using the elliptical machine, I use three wipes for each arm, and another couple wipes to entirely clean the cardio panel and cup holder. In other words, anything that someone has potentially touched, I am thoroughly wiping down. NOTE: Some people wipe down a surface, then they will take a towel and wipe it off. You should never do that, as you want the surface to stay wet for awhile to make sure the disinfectant kills anything living on the equipment.
- Wipe down mats before and after you use them with disinfectant wipes. I also recommend placing a clean towel down on the cleaned mat. After you get up, throw the towel in the towel bin immediately. If you plan on taking a yoga or mat based class, bring your own. Wipe it down after class, so it’s clean for your next use.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Being well hydrated and having moist mucus nose, mouth and eye membranes, make it less likely that germ droplets will stick and infect you.
- Class etiquette. If you plan on taking a class, keep at least three feet between you and the person next, in front and behind you. If someone is coughing, leave that space immediately! Again, inform a gym employee at once. (I think right now any teacher or trainer who has cold and/or flu symptoms should stay home until they are symptom free. Teachers should make an announcement before class advising folks to keep three feet between their neighbor and excuse themselves if they are sick.)
- Avoid going barefoot. At least for until this virus peaks, do your best to avoid going barefoot, except stepping directly onto your personal, clean yoga mat. If you do go barefoot, take a few wipes to thoroughly clean your feet after your workout or yoga class. Let them air dry before you put your socks and shoes back on.
- Wipe and clean your phone screen before and after your workout. If you’ve touched any gym equipment, and then your phone screen, you’ve transferred anything from that surface to your phone. Phones like your hands, should be cleaned routinely to avoid getting sick.
- Cover Cuts and Wounds. Although germs live on your skin, if you break your skin, that creates and entry point for those germs who are normally are kept outside to invade and get you sick.
If you’re like a lot of workout enthusiasts like me who find that a good sweat makes your body feel good and manage stress, try to practice these proven, science-based recommendations to keep your body, mind and soul healthy and strong. My final advise is to turn your phone off and take a long power walk or run outside for a great sweat and decompress from the 24/7 news cycles. Plus, it’s free and no one’s close. Want a GREAT total body strength and resistance workout, try our Core Transformer Resistance Band Home Workout System. Stay safe…
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Be safe and well,
Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, Founder, American Fitness Couture