As the country slowly begins to reopen, we are more aware than ever of the potential viral dangers of public spaces. Like all public areas where people like to gather; gyms and fitness centres are places where viral illnesses, such as COVID-19, can spread. From shared weights, to sweaty stretching areas and heavy breathing, it is understandable that people may be a little unsure about returning to their pre-COVID fitness regime. However, the NHS has highlighted the importance of exercise and nutrition to help in the fight against COVID-19 (alongside a host of other diseases), stressing the value of a fit and healthy lifestyle to strengthen your entire body, from your immune system, skeletal system, muscles, and organs, to your mental health and general wellbeing.
Research has shown that obesity-related conditions could worsen the effects of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, with health issues such as heart disease and diabetes also increasing the risk of complications. Meanwhile, data from the NHS has been shown to indicate that up to 75% of those that have been hospitalised with COVID-19 have been overweight or obese, with further research from the University of Liverpool suggesting that obesity increases the risk of death from SARS-CoV-2 by up to 38%.
With all of these risk factors in mind, it is no surprise that the government have chosen to push for a greater focus on weight loss in the bid to tackle the current pandemic, with Boris Johnson himself attributing his intensive care stay on his weight. In fact, exercise has been shown to be an excellent defence against a myriad of illnesses, from reducing the risk of heart diseases, to boosting your mood, and even reducing the risk of some cancers!
Exercise and nutrition are important now more than ever, with the pandemic forcing many into their homes for extended periods of time, increasing stress, and prompting some to rely more heavily on processed foods and canned produce with less nutritional value. A focus on good diet and exercise during this time and the coming months is likely to provide benefits which will not only help to combat COVID-19, but also lay the foundation for a healthier lifestyle with much more long-term effects. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin to help boost your mood and help you to feel more relaxed, helping with stress management and to reduce the risk of depression, and this rush of chemicals can also help to promote a more permanent exercise regime. With gyms and fitness studios now reopened, there is no better time to invest in your own health and begin (or restart) your exercise journey.
So, what do you need to know about how to stay safe whilst visiting a fitness studio or gym?
Gym and fitness studios across the country have worked to put a wide variety of procedures in place to help their members stay safe whilst also staying healthy. As with all places of business in the UK, gyms and fitness studios are asking their members to refrain from attending if they or anyone in their household have experienced symptoms or COVID-19, or if they have been in contact with anyone that has tested positive for the illness. It also important to check with your gym and to find out what precautions they have put in place, both to ensure that you know what to expect on arrival, and to ensure that you are confident that you will feel safe whilst you exercise. Deep cleaning of fitness premises and equipment is paramount, as well as putting procedures in place to maintain the cleanliness and safety of both the gym and its members. You may also be asked a series of health and safety related questions on arrival as well as a temperature check before entry. There may also be limits on equipment use and capacity in order to maintain social distancing and to help reduce possible infection rates.
As a visitor to a gym or fitness studio, it is important that you abide by the guidelines put in place by the individual company, and to try and minimise contact as much as possible. This could include arriving at the gym ready to workout, showering at home, and potentially wearing a mask (depending on local guidelines and gym/studio rules). It is also important to maintain proper hand hygiene and to try and avoid touching your face as much as possible whilst working out. You may also be required to clean your equipment as you use it, with many gyms providing cleaning stations to encourage member-led cleaning and to ensure the environment is as safe as possible.
One of the key ways to stay safe whilst also staying healthy is to abide by your local gym or studios guidelines, maintain social distancing, and to pay additional attention to your own health prior to visiting.
Orangetheory is currently running up to 10 classes a day, between 5am and 9pm, and has created a series of guidelines to help their members stay healthy when they visit the studio, with the health and wellbeing of members taking precedence. Those new to Orangetheory are invited to try a 7-day complimentary trial, to check out their science-backed, technology-tracked workouts and experience the heightened standards of hygiene & safety.
For more information & to claim a 7-day trial, visit www.orangetheory.com.