How to stay safe as gyms reopen this weekend

How to stay safe as gyms reopen this weekend


Tomorrow is the long-awaited date for fitness fans. After many long months, gyms are finally reopening.

No more using tins of beans for weights, or waking up the whole house doing burpees in the living room.

But, you might not want to rush straight back to it without some careful consideration. Gym environments will be different, and so will your body’s capabilities.

It’s more important than ever to be safe in the gym, both in terms of the social distancing and hygiene, but also in terms of easing yourself back into fitness safely.

The expert team at have offered their top tips on how to stay safe when gyms do reopen – so you can get back to your best as soon as possible:

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Change and shower at home

Not only will changing and showering at home reduce the time you’re in the gym, it will also reduce any chances of cross-contamination.

Be sure to jump in the shower as soon as you get home and pop your workout clothing straight in the washing.

Get to know the new gym layout

It is likely that some equipment will have been removed or relocated within the gym to allow for enough space between those working out.

Have a look around as soon as you arrive to get to know where everything now is to prevent wandering around aimlessly.

Also, be sure to locate all cleaning products upon entering the gym so you know where to go, what’s available and what to use.

If you’re not sure, the staff within the gym will be more than happy to help.

Keep your towel for your face and body only

Everyone is sweating and panting in the gym, and many carry their own towels – both to wipe themselves down and to wipe equipment down with. Your towel should only be used on your person.

Use separate items to clean down any equipment and machinery after use such as antibacterial wipes or towel.

And, of course, dispose of them after each and every use.

Consider booking onto classes

Classes aren’t for everyone – many prefer weight sessions or working out alone within the gym – but classes are going to be one of the safest spots within gyms when they reopen.

Class sizes will be reduced to allow for adequate workout space and they will also have their own equipment – so when the gym is busy, you know that you’ll not only get a good workout but also be using the relevant equipment to aid you.

Pay attention to your breathing

As we said before, everyone sweats and pants within the gym, that’s a given – but now is the best time to learn to get your breathing under control.

Not only will it help to reduce contamination within the air, it will also allow you to have a more targeted and controlled workout.

In through your nose, out through your mouth. Make deep, small breaths so that you don’t open your mouth wide when breathing out and aim your face downwards, where safe to do so, instead of out into the rest of the gym.   

Keep your distance

It’s not uncommon to have people standing nearby while you’re working out in the gym, by way of saying they’re next in line for the equipment that you’re working on.

This isn’t going to be possible for the foreseeable, with social distancing guidelines recommending a distance of between 1 to 2 metres.

Instead of lingering, waiting for a machine or piece of equipment to become free, look around and see what else might be free that you can work with.

Take care of your body

Be sure to properly stretch before and after a workout.

Yes, they take time, but they’re imperative to a good and safe workout.

Accept the setback

No matter how physically active you were before Covid-19, it’s likely that you’ve found motivation may have been lacking or just that you’re unable to do your usual workouts and therefore have had to reduce your physical output.

With this in mind, you’re going to have taken a setback and it’s important to accept this.

Don’t go back to the gym and assume you can lift the weights you were once lifting, or that you can run on the treadmill for quite as long as you could beforehand.

Start small and build yourself back up. If not, there’s a very good chance that you will pick up an injury.

Listen to your body

You will likely feel sore for the first few days or weeks after returning to the gym, so listen to your body.

Yes, in many instances you’re advised to push through DOMS and get back into the gym, but you will know better than anyone what your body can and can’t take. Listen to it in order to avoid and injury.

Cold-therapy products are great to keep on hand in case you do pick up small injuries, assisting with the pain that go hand in hand with them, such as sprains, strains and muscle pulls. 

Experts are warning that as gyms reopen, fitness-related injuries are expected to spike.

Experts at MyVitalMetrics have provided tips on how to ease yourself back into your workout routines and lower your risk of injury:

Owen Hutchins, founder and fitness expert from MyVitalMetrics, suggested these four adaptations:

Transfer your workouts back to the gym gradually

The potential for higher resistances and weights at the gym is far greater than most home workouts, so you should allow time to see how your body is adapting to them.

If you were working out 3x per week at home, for the first week just transfer one workout to the gym and complete the other two at home. 

In the second week you can take two at the gym, and one at home, and in the third week you’ll be comfortable at the gym. This progression allows your body to adapt to the new routine more slowly and also ensures that you keep the habit you’ve spent months building up. 

Take what you used to do in one workout – both the weight lifted, and the number of sets and reps – and reduce by at least 1/3.

Your body has changed over lockdown and it may take a few workouts to gain back the muscle memory and strength it once had. If you’ve not been active, it may take a bit longer as your body would have lost muscle. 

If you’ve not been active during lockdown; start with a single workout at the gym in the week, then add a second workout the following week and so on till you have your planned number of workouts. 

Be prepared to be flexible with your workout plan

Under the new rules, your gym may not be the place you left in March – some equipment may be closed off or moved to aid social distancing; you may be time limited; you may be required to thoroughly clean each piece of equipment you use; you might be limited to a single area. 

All of these can be frustrating to those who like to go with a plan, so mentally prepare yourself for an unfamiliar environment.

While in the gym, write down the equipment you can’t use from your previous workout plan and think about replacement exercises. 

Using YouTube or any useful fitness websites, you can easily find some simple alternatives to your usual routine.

Try not to change too much else 

Going back to the gym itself is a big shake-up for the body, so try to limit any other shakeups – try to keep your diet consistent, get plenty of rest and plenty of water. 

Also try to keep a hold of whatever good habits you were able to eke out over lockdown. If that meant you went on an outdoor walk everyday – try to keep this up, not only will it keep you doing some light activity, it’s great for your mental health as well.

Take a baseline measurement

You should go into the new routine knowing where you are. Whether that’s analysing your weight, circumference measurements or (ideally) bodyfat percentage – its crucial.

This is so that in the future you can look back and see how much the gym routine has done for you.

This will not only keep you motivated in your fitness journey, but also make you aware of what areas of the to target in your routines.

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