If you’re worried about getting the novel coronavirus every time you see another human being, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
As cities across the world have taken extreme measures to curb human contact — either to avoid an outbreak or desperately contain one already raging out of control — many people are themselves how safe it is to be out and about right now. Many major cities that have outbreaks, such as New York, Seattle, and LA, have encouraged people to stay home and avoid large gatherings of people like you would see at a bar or theatre. However, if you are physically unable to restrain yourself from going to the gym during this uncertain time, here are some tips for how to work out as safely as possible while keeping health and safety in mind.
Tip #1: Bring your own method of disinfectant.
You should honestly be doing this anyway, especially if you work out at a high volume gym where equipment is being constantly touched and used by others. Try bringing a small amount of bleach wipes or bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag the next time you work out. Either quickly wipe down the equipment before you use it or make sure to clean your hands with hand sanitizer in between different workouts. Some things get cleaned daily in a gym and some don’t; this is an easy precaution you can take to stay safe and give yourself peace of mind.
Tip #2: Work out during the off-hours or work out apart from others at the gym.
The best thing any of us can do as individuals to curb an epidemic is social distancing. This means not getting around too many individuals for too long or giving them the opportunity to pass the virus to you. Try working out at a time when your gym is normally very empty, or, if there are people there, try working out at least 6 feet away from them. Now’s not the best time to hit the treadmill next to your best friend and talk about your day. Try to be aware of your personal space, stay clean, and avoid situations of close physical proximity where you might breathe in another person’s bacteria.
Tip #3: Don’t touch your face.
This isn’t a workout specific tip, but this is seriously one of the best ways to stop yourself from contracting any viral disease. Coronavirus enters the bloodstream through mucous membranes, like those found our eyes, throat, and nostrils. Avoid touching your face at all costs, and if you really want to do it, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands first. If you have coronavirus all over your hands (horrifying image), it will not be able to hurt or infect you unless you have an open wound. But if you put those same germs in your eyes, ears, nose, or throat, it’s curtains for you. Conveniently, all those things are located on the face, so just don’t touch it.
Tip #4: Clean your phone, wipe down doorknobs, sink handles — these are oases for germs.
Lots of equipment gets cleaned in the gym, but there are obvious things you touch every single day that are crawling with bacteria. Your phone, for example. Gym workers might be careful to sanitize equipment but they can’t possibly remember anything. Clean your phone and make sure to clean the “unexpected” hotspots for germs — doorknobs, handles, buttons, etc. If you’re at the gym, try opening the bathroom door with the point of your elbow instead of your hand. Clean your hands (with the hand sanitizer you have because of tip #1!) in between taking a phone call and opening a door. These are simple steps to reduce infection rates.
Tip #5: Don’t go to the gym if you have open wounds or are already feeling sick.
You would be surprised how many athletes have the “shake it off” mentality and try and push through a mild illness or injury. If you have an open cut on your body, or feel even mild flu-like symptoms, STAY AT HOME. Even if you are young and healthy, you have the potential to act as a carrier of the virus towards a person who is older or immuno-compromised. Coronavirus is microscopic – it could enter a paper cut on your finger. Just don’t be that guy. Just. Don’t. Do. It.