I’m a wiz at coming up with creative ways to workout. I can adapt nearly any exercise to meet the needs and resources of a client. However, some folks just want to get back to normal. If you’re thinking, “Enough with the resistance bands and bodyweight workouts already! I want to go back to the gym!” then this post is for you.
(Disclaimer: Be sure to follow your state and local government’s recommendations and consult with your doctor as to whether your health allows you to assume the risk of going to the gym.)
Here’s 5 ways to have a safer gym experience so you can get your body ready for hiking!
1. Go at less convenient times – Visiting the gym when it is less crowded means less exposure to potential pathogens. Fewer people enables you to maintain a social distance from others. If these times are less convenient for you, they are inconvenient for other gym goers too. It may require that you get creative with scheduling your day. If you’re working from home, that might be easier than you think. One client takes a late morning break to work out and calls it “Coworker safety enhancement,” on her schedule. It turns out that letting off a little steam during the workday instead of waiting until the end of the day keeps her mind focused and her mood more even.
2. Wear a mask – My philosophy is “control the things you can.” Every state and municipality has different mask-wearing regulations. For instance, you don’t have to wear a mask indoors if you’re doing a physical activity in my home state. Masks are required indoors at all other times, though.
There is a well-documented case of choir members who contracted COVID-19 after a choir practice where they weren’t wearing masks(1). What singing and working out have in common is forceful exhales that can spread pathogens farther than normal breathing. Therefore, it makes sense to take the extra precaution of wearing a mask during your workout. Masks are not that intrusive and easy to remove for water breaks.
3. Workout in front of a fan – Gyms are closed environments where air recirculates without open windows and minimal fresh intake. Therefore you might want to ask your gym if they’ve installed HEPA filters in their system to help catch any circulating virus. Another way to improve circulation in your environment is to workout near a fan. Good air movement helps reduce the number of lingering viral particles in the air around you.
4. Sanitize equipment before and after use – Even though they have the best intentions, you can’t rely on the gym’s attendants to clean things as well as you might like. Therefore, take matters into your own hands and clean equipment before and after use. Your gym might have posted guidelines about how to sanitize. Be sure to follow those!
5. Stay in one area – If you tracked a typical gym-goer’s footprints, it would show a path that resembled a tangled spider web. Your usual workout might use eight different pieces of equipment and require you to walk hither and yon. However, you can craft an entire routine using only the cables/pulleys, Swiss stability ball, Smith bar, BOSU ball, or a few dumbbells. Identify what you want to use for the day, or find a space or apparatus that is available and stake out your area. Once there, stay put! It limits the amount of walking near others and cleaning you have to do.
Do you have access to a gym but need help crafting a plan that achieves your fitness goals?
Do you want creative ideas on how to work out using limited or minimal gym or home equipment?
Does staying away from the gym mean you’re missing your workouts altogether?
The Healthy Hiker 8-week virtual training program provides answers to all these challenges and more! In just 8 weeks, you’ll be training with confidence and enjoying your improved strength, flexibility, and fitness on the trail.
What do you want to accomplish? Send me a message - I’m here to help!