In metro Atlanta, gyms like the YMCA and LA Fitness, as well as locally owned fitness centers, have started to reopen their doors after temporarily shuttering amid the coronavirus outbreak.
However, it raises the question: Is it safe to return?
Gyms and fitness centers, like all other public places reopening are doing so with additional safety precautions. For example, the Y’s locations will implement new protocols like temperature checks, increased sanitation, requiring masks and enforcing social distancing.
LA Fitness has said its spas, saunas, basketball courts and children’s clubs will remain closed.
If you’re looking to return to your gym, here are some things that experts advise keeping in mind.
Dr. Sandra Kesh, an infectious disease expert in New York, told CNET that the safest place to exercise right now is still outside.
“I still prefer people to go outdoors for exercise. I think it becomes much easier to socially distance, unless you are running with a pack of people. Gyms are very well ventilated, but we do know how far this virus can spread. So if you are in a gym and you're doing a vigorous workout, you're breathing hard, someone near you might cough,” Kesh told the publication.
However, if you do decide to return to a gym, Kesh recommends trying to find a time when it will be less busy, like early in the morning or later in the evening.
She also advises wearing a mask while working out and being extra cautious about wiping down equipment before using it.
Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an infectious disease expert at Emory University told the Today show that gyms can be a hard place to adequately maintain social distancing and it can be hard to avoid coming into close contact with someone else heavily breathing, coughing or sneezing.
“Gyms are by definition a tricky place to do appropriate social distancing because it’s very hard to space out the equipment appropriately and it’s also very hard to wear a mask when you work out,” Sexton told Today.
Sexton says she recommends: wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance from people at all times, bringing your own water bottle and towel and being mindful of the surfaces you touch.
If you opt to stay indoors to exercise, here are ways to stay active inside:
Yoga can be not only good for your physical health, but can improve general wellness by relieving stress and improving emotional health, sleep and balance, the National Institute of Health notes. It can also relieve low-back and neck pain and help manage anxiety and depressive symptoms.
You don’t have to pay big bucks or leave your home to do yoga. Just put on something comfortable and pull up YouTube. Some popular channels include Yoga With Adrienne, Yoga By Candace and Body Positive Yoga.
Try tidying up:
Cleaning your house can be a win-win. Lifting laundry, going up and down stairs, being on your feet can all add up to a good amount of physical activity. Then, having a clean space can help with your mental health as well.
“Cleaning your house can incorporate a variety of muscle groups without you even realizing it,” personal trainer Rich Gaspari told Everyday Health.
You don’t need expensive exercise equipment or access to a gym to do simple exercises like planks, wall sits or squats. There are a variety of routines you can find online and on YouTube.
Dance it out:
Put on some tunes and have a living room dance party. It’s also a good way to keep kids active.
“Dance is an effective form of exercise and can burn just as many calories as swimming, walking, or bike riding. The amount of calories you will burn depends on the intensity of the dance, the length of dance, how much effort you put in, and how much you weigh,” active.com notes.
If you venture outside to exercise, here are some ways to stay safe:
Keep your distance
Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told NPR that runners should consider keeping even more than the CDC recommended six feet of distance. Marr suggests runners try to maintain at least 10-12 feet between them and others.
She said that’s because running could potentially increase your likelihood of spreading the virus, should you be infected.
Change up your routine
When it comes to staying safe on your walks and runs, changing up your routine may help keep you safe. Try getting up early to run at less popular times or take a route that will be less populated.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.