Be Extra Careful at Your Gym in Regard to Coronavirus

by Matt Weik

I want to preface this article by stating, I feel that the mainstream media is blowing the coronavirus scare out of proportion – like they do with everything else they report about that involves bad news or negativity. It’s as if these journalists and media producers are sitting at their desk praying for something bad to happen so they can cover it all day long and put the fear of God in their viewers. Meanwhile, they put all the good things going on in the world on the backburner.

Listen, is the spread of the coronavirus making its way through the US? Yes. Should we all put on our tin hats and lock ourselves in a safe-room? No. I’m not here to tell you to prepare for the worst-case scenario, nor am I telling you that the coronavirus is no big deal. We are seeing the spread of coronavirus across the nation but in reality, so is the flu, so is obesity, so is cancer. More people are dying each year from those than they are coronavirus at this point.

It seems as though things are being taken to the extreme. People are stocking up on water and toilet paper as if they’re never going to be able to leave their home ever again – like it’s the apocalypse. And I love that everyone keeps telling us to wash our hands. Hmm. I never thought about that. I mean, who would think it’s a good idea to do that? If you couldn’t tell, I’m being sarcastic. It’s only something we should be already doing every day of our lives as a proper hygiene and cleanliness standpoint.

Coronavirus Has Everyone in A Panic

Now, we don’t know how bad things will get with the coronavirus. Expos across the nation have been canceled, professional sports have been postponed until further notice, schools and universities are closing and moving to a virtual education platform, and we are seeing some celebrities announce they have contracted the coronavirus such as Tom Hanks and his wife.

Everyone seems to be proceeding with caution and if there could be a chance infecting a large congregation, it’s being shut down out of caution. I can’t hate on them for wanting to keep people safe and not have it fall back on them if something were to happen where masses of people came down with the coronavirus after attending their event or gathering.

With all of this being said, and the fact that we all have a passion for health and fitness, we should absolutely be proactive when it comes to our interactions and be mindful of the places we visit. One area in particular that I want to focus on (which was also covered in the news) is your local gym. We all enjoy working out. I don’t care if it’s Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Retro Fitness, Snap Fitness, Crunch Fitness, put in whatever gym you go to here – be mindful that everyone is touching the same things you are in the gym.

People are sweating all over the place (germs love wet and damp areas), coughing in their hands (and want to shake your hand and touch the equipment), sneezing without covering their mouth (nothing like a potential germ-infused cloud of mist going into the air), breathing heavy (yes, water particles go out into the air when we breath), and may not be washing their hands following any of that. If you still want to exercise and get in your workouts, just make sure you are thinking about ways to prevent yourself from potentially coming down with the coronavirus.

How to Help Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus at the Gym

Obviously, I can’t tell you for a certainty that if you do the things listed below, you’re good to go and safe, but if you implement them, you can certainly cut down your risk factors. You can’t count on the gym staff to make sure everything is wiped down every second of the day and therefore, it’s up to you to make sure you stay safe and healthy.

Wipe down the equipment both before and after use

There are unfortunately way too many people who are in a rush and don’t take the time to wipe down their machines and equipment when they are done using them. Combine that with the fact that people are incredibly lazy as well, and you have yourself a petri dish of bacteria left on equipment before you hop on or use it.

For that reason, it’s important for you to not only wipe down your equipment when you are done using it but make it a habit to wipe down the surfaces before you use it as well. Better safe than sorry, right? Use the provided paper towels and alcohol-based sanitizer found in the cleaning stations at the gym.

Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer

Did you just put your hand in someone’s sweat? Did you see Frank over in the corner wiping his runny nose on his hand? Johnny is across the room sneezing into his hands like he just inhaled a bunch of pepper and just picked up that set of dumbbells? Now, they all want to come over and say hi to you and shake your hand. I shouldn’t need to tell you, but you should go wash your hands then. Or at the least use some hand sanitizer.

Many gyms are being cautious and, in an effort to keep things from spreading, are putting hand sanitizer stations throughout the gym. It would be a good idea to use it regularly throughout your workout.

Think twice about using the steam room for the time being

Damp and humid areas are a no-no right now. Again, such areas can breed bacteria and at this point, it is unknown how the coronavirus would be affected in such conditions. Therefore, out of caution, it would be a good idea to stay away from the steam room for the time being.

Bring your own towel to the gym

I’m not saying that gyms aren’t washing the towels being used by members but being that this whole coronavirus thing is sweeping its way across the nation, it would be wise to take a little extra precaution. What that means is, bring your own towel to wipe off your body if you are sweating, as well as bringing your own towel to use for showering after your workout.

Of course, I would not recommend using the same towels again for your next workout. Grab a fresh pair and toss the used ones in the wash.