Oh, 2020. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t quite what we all expected, was it?
Now that we’re in the Green Phase and we are FINALLY back open after almost 4 long months, a common question asked is whether or not gyms are safe at the moment. While of course nothing is a guarantee, there is no shortage of steps that we are taking to ensure our members’ safety and we are confident we are doing everything we can.
As per the state’s guidelines, we are operating at 50% capacity to prevent overcrowding and keep the number of members in the facility at one time at a minimum to reduce exposure. Time slots can be reserved in 90-minute intervals via the app as well as classes.
Decals indicating one-way traffic as well as 6-foot spacing have been placed throughout the facility, and some equipment has been temporarily roped off to ensure 6-foot distance. Supersets and circuit training are discouraged at this time to minimize movement. As required by the city of Pittsburgh, everyone, staff and members alike, are required to wear a mask 100% of the time in the facility. We are also doing temp checks as people come in and are not allowing entry for anyone that shows a temp of 100.4 or higher.
Our group fitness classes have also been spread out for member safety and comfort as well. And bonus: they’re outside on the ROOF. That’s kinda a plus side, isn’t it?
Better yet, some experts are saying having a gym membership (and using it) can help PREVENT COVID-19. Why’s that? Many of the co-morbidities listed with COVID-19 are those that occur as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle: obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (note: there are of course exceptions to this such as genetics, but many of these are preventable with proper nutrition & exercise.) For a lot of people, particularly those with smaller homes, tight spaces, or no equipment, getting an effective workout at home can be a challenge. A survey showed that activity levels decreased by 48% between April and March in adults…and CDC estimates that only half of adults were getting the exercise they needed anyways. A decline in physical activity can put adults’ immune systems at a higher risk.
Not to mention the mental and emotional benefits. Almost everyone can agree that their mood has taken a serious hit in the last 6 months – exercise can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety and release endorphins, which triggers feelings of happiness and euphoria (isn’t that what Elle Woods said? #happypeopledontshoottheirhusbands)
And it appears that the reopening of fitness facilities has not contributed to the spread of COVID-19. A study done by MXM of 2877 health clubs who collectively had over 49 million check-ins showed an occurrence of 0.002%, or 42,731:1 visit-to-virus ratio. That means for every 42,731 check-ins, there was 1 case of COVID-19.
If members and staff follow the proper safety guidelines as mandated by the facilities and by the state, the gym can absolutely be a safe place to be. That being said, those who are already at high risk for contracting COVID-19 should make the decision that is right for them. Even if you’re not ready to walk through the gym doors, keep exercise in your lifestyle (even a leisurely walk is better than nothing) for your health: mental, physical and emotional.