EDIT: Gyms in the UK are now closed for the foreseeable future. You should always comply with government advise regarding social distancing and travel.
I have been asked this question myself by clients, and I’ve seen other people asking for advice on Social Media. So I thought I’d share some of my own thoughts and tips on staying fit and healthy, in more ways than one, in the midst of a global pandemic.
Currently in the UK, there is no advice to shut down gyms or other public places. So there’s no official reason to stop going.
However, whether you personally stop going is up to you and your situation. Gyms can be a breeding ground for bugs because of the high volume of people going around touching everything with their sweaty hands. If you are, or work or live with, a high-risk group, you might take the decision yourself to stay away.
As an asthmatic I am in a high-risk group, I won’t be staying away from the gym completely as I work there and have some goals to hit, however, there are additional precautions I will be taking. Many of these are just sensible and will help you and others avoid any illnesses, not just Covid-19, while you’re at the gym.
While you are in the gym, try and avoid touching your face. If you get sweaty this can sometimes be hard to do, so be extra aware. Tieing your hair back or wearing a headband can help stop you from unconsciously touching your face and take a clean towel specifically for face wiping purposes.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after your workout and take hand sanitizer with you to use on the gym floor, if, of course, you can find any…..
Lastly, make use of cleaning products in the gym or take your own wipes if your local shop hasn’t been raided by the panic buying brigade to wipe down equipment both before AND after you use it (Think of other people, ok!) If your gym isn’t providing any cleaning products then you should probably ask them to.
Adjust Your Routine
The busier an area is, the more likely it is that infections will be passed on. This makes big commercial gyms a bigger infection risk than the tiny quiet corner gym, so it might be worth considering using a different gym, if that’s an option.
The weather is starting to warm up as well, so maybe now is the time to consider your exercise options outside the gym. Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter or a bodybuilder there are plenty of other ways to stay mobile and fit whilst minimising your time in a sweaty gym. It’s not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well.
Running is the perfect opportunity to work on your cardio fitness. If you hate running then there are other options. May I recommend heading out to the park with a humble skipping rope, for instance? It’s harder than I remember it being when I was a kid.
I’ve also just bought a set of resistance bands and some cones from Amazon (those are both affiliate links) and I’m planning to head to the park. Cones can be used for shuttle runs and agility drills and resistance bands are my favourite thing ever. They can be used for all sorts of exercises, bench and overhead presses, assisting pull-ups, adding resistance to press-ups and any number of core exercises. Find a park with a climbing frame or football goalposts to give you something to loop them around. I’ve also invested in this suspension trainer, you can also take this out with you or use it in your own home.
Plus, you know, just your own bodyweight makes an excellent workout, and I am reliably informed by something I read somewhere (I think it was the Health Minister, yes, the one that has Covid-19) that the virus doesn’t last long outdoors so it’s the best place to be. Getting outside is also a good option should official advice change and gyms close down for any period of time.
Don’t Go If You’re Sick
It’s about time everyone realised that there aren’t any medals for going to the gym when you’re sick. If you have a cough, temperature or any of the symptoms of Corona Virus please, please just stay home, you can do some press-ups on your living room floor if you’re really that worried about your GAINZ.
In fact, while we’re at it, if you have any symptoms that AREN’T Coronavirus, like a runny nose, just stay home anyway, because no one else wants that either thank you.
Lastly, don’t panic. I’m definitely prone to worrying when diseases like this pop up, but all panicking is going to do is make you stressed which lowers your immune system and is therefore counterproductive. So there.
Staying fit and active strengthens your immune system so if you’re concerned about infection it’s not the time to stop exercising. Listen to official advice and be cautious about infection control measures.
If you are finding yourself getting excessively anxious I really recommend trying some guided meditations as well. I find meditation extremely useful when I’m anxious and it can really help still a racing mind.
Remember, I’m not an infection control expert, so you should always listen to advice from the NHS and official sources when making decisions, but the above are just some ways I, personally, will be dealing with the current situation while still trying to live my life.
Are there any changes you’ve made to your daily routine?