Is It Safe To Go To The Gym During The Coronavirus Pandemic? | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Government Orders Shutdown Of Gyms And Indoor Sporting Venues

Prior to the ban Melbourne-based GP Dr Preeya Alexander said the safety of gyms was “somewhat grey.”

“I think a good way to put it is – do you NEED to attend the gym right now with other people to exercise or can you get some exercise in on your own in a manner that is safer for you and the community right now?” she told Men’s Health.

“I don’t want to alarm people – but right now going to the gym where you may be close to other people may not be the best move – particularly when we are encouraging social distancing to stop this virus from rapidly spreading in the community.”

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Even gym owners like Sam Wood, who runs Melbourne training facility The Woodshed and online program 28 by Sam Wood, said that heading to the gym should come with some concern.

“As a gym owner, it pains me to say it but yes,” he told Men’s Health. “It’s simply a matter of taking care of our health and fitness but being smart about it. The best way to do that at the moment is to work out in the comfort of your own home.”

As well as taking steps to increase hygiene and communication in his facility, Sam says that personal protocols are essential if you’re heading into a communal workout space.

“Don’t share drink bottles, spray down equipment yourself before and after use, use hand sanitiser, be aware of what your gym towel is touching before touching you again and be mindful of sharing mats and benches. In short – what did you touch last before touching you and have you taken all precautions since?” 

Dr Alexander also recommends avoiding peak times or crowded gym classes.

“The recommendation right now is to try and avoid physical contact with others and to maintain a distance of 1.5M between people. At a gym people are often very close together and the other issue is that people are touching multiple surfaces like weights/door handles/water coolers and so you may be more likely to contract the virus.”

Many gyms have communicated new cleaning and class protocols to their members. Yoga studio Body Mind Life have reduced class sizes to allow a one metre gap between students and have suspended the use of shared equipment like bolsters, mats and blankets.

“We are in daily contact with all team members working in our studios, who continue to be stringent around hygiene and cleaning regimes including thorough, frequent hand washing,” they said in an email. “We have also increased our cleaning in studio, particularly for those areas touched regularly by team members and customers.”

F45 has also shared an update on their social accounts saying their class schedules had changed to allow for additional cleaning time and they strongly encouraging members to stay home if they feel sick.

It’s important to note that recommendations are rapidly changing so keep an eye on Australian government advice. It is also critical that if you notice symptoms like a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call your doctor or healthdirect on 1800 022 222. When you call, tell them where you have travelled or if you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

If your symptoms are severe visit your local Emergency Department and immediately tell staff where you have travelled or if you have been in contact with a confirmed case. If you have a surgical mask handy, wear one.

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By Mens Health Staff

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