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Is it safe to return to gym and fitness centres?

During the hard lockdown and some of the subsequent levels, it has been challenging to exercise and many people have neglected their health. With the implementation of level 2, fitness centres and gyms (limitation of 50 persons or less) have opened, but even so, many people remain wary of going back. We spoke to a personal trainer about why it is safe to go back to the gym and what protocols have been put in place for your safety as well as everyone around you.

 

Matthew Alexander, a personal trainer, has returned to work since the go-ahead was given for gyms to reopen. Since then, he said, the numbers of gym-goers have remained relatively low. And although he’s had new clients joining, his previous client base is still only at about 50%.

“I know it might take some time for people to feel comfortable visiting the gym again, but from our side, I can say that we are doing everything in our power to make the gym safe and adhering to all the necessary protocols and regulations.”

What protocols are in place to ensure your safety at the gym?

  • Members have to take a questionnaire, and their temperatures will be taken upon entering the premises.
  • Staff and trainers fill in a form every morning as well as have their temperature taken.
  • Only 50 people are allowed in at a time.
  • There are sanitisers placed around every piece of equipment.
  • The cleaners clean the equipment continuously.
  • Deep cleaning happens twice a day.
  • There are demarcated spaces that ensure people are 2 metres away from one another at all times.
  • Masks need to be worn (except for certain high-intensity classes, but social distancing is still adhered to).
  • Used weights or equipment can be put in a marked area, and the cleaners will clean it before anyone can use it again.
  • Steam rooms are closed.
  • Access to urinals and basins have been adjusted to enforce distancing.

If you have since returned to the gym or planning to start soon, Matthew advises starting at a gradual pace as with a lack of intense exercise for 5-6 months may have resulted in your fitness levels declining quite a bit, and you do not want to injure yourself.

Adopting good personal hygiene practices is still to be top of mind, whether you are visiting a shopping mall or a gym. Remember to:

  • Wash/sanitise your hands regularly.
  • Wear a face mask in public.
  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow or in a tissue. Discard the used tissue into a bin immediately after use.
  • Keep at least 1,5m from other people.
  • Keep surfaces clean with soap and water.

“If you are finished with your gym session, it is important to go home and shower immediately and put your gym clothes in the wash. This is just a further precaution to keep you safe as well as anyone around you.”

Sources: https://www.gov.za/