man doing sit ups

Men’s Active Lifestyle in COVID-19 : Is Your Gym Worth the Risk?

Without a doubt, we’ve all had our share of negative emotions this past year as the virus ravaged the country. Indeed, you need all the outlet you can get in these trying times. We’ve been so constricted that you may get the urge to head to the gym now that things are looking better in 2021. Now that nearly numerous people in the county have had their fair share of the vaccine — with more than 290 million inoculated to date — it seems timely that you get your gear and go to the nearest fitness center. And why not? The reopening of establishments in some states should be your cue.

Before you put that gym bag in your car, however, stop for a moment and think. It was not too long ago that a sizable number of Americans backed out on their option to renew gym memberships. A survey by TD Ameritrade revealed that of the 2,009 participants who had gym memberships, over 56% rechanneled their focus on exercising outside the gym instead of in the gym. On one end, that certainly cut their monthly costs by about $177 monthly.

But that was a survey done months before 2021 crept into our calendars. Nevertheless, that should not mean you’re totally free of COVID-19 risks. Here are guidelines to know if you’re visiting a gym worth your time.

Benefits of Going to the Gym

It’s a vicious cycle when you talk about the overall effects of the virus on the populace. For every person laid to rest in the United States due to compilations related 0to COVID-19, a community is grieving. Imagine the horrors everyone is getting with over 500,000 people dead. It’s no coincidence that the CDC has reported that mental health issues are on the rise as the pandemic wreaks havoc.

Working out can be a positive influence in these trying times. To boot, exercise is a tried-and-tested way to minimize stress. Not only does it give you time for yourself (without having to worry), but you’re also triggering the activation of chemical reactions within the body to minimize stress. For one, exercise is an effective way to reduce your body’s stress-inducing hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Most importantly, it can promote the production of your body’s mood-elevating hormones, endorphins.

However, while there are merits to exercising on your own at home, working out in the gym has its own practical benefits you really can’t find anywhere else. The most obvious is the equipment. You really can’t put all that at home. Then there’s the support. As much as online classes can give you a boost, in-person training is more intensive.

man using treadmill

Working Out in a Gym Safely

Before you hit the gym, make sure you’re suited for battle. What we mean by that is to make sure that you’re ready to deter the advances of the virus. So, a cloth mask is a must. In addition, bring with you a sufficient dose of sanitizers and disinfectants. You can use the sanitizers to ensure your hands are free of the virus. Moreover, disinfect high-touch pieces of equipment before you use them.

Wearing a pair of gloves is also good, but make sure to clean or dispose of them properly as they can be an instrument of infection. Most importantly, you need to check on the fitness center itself. Are they enforcing social distancing? Are they sanitizing treadmills and other equipment?

Also, you may have to look at the indoor air quality. While you may not think much of the air conditioning, HVAC sure plays a huge role in the safety of the gym. It is instrumental in regulating the temperature around you to healthy levels. That means keeping humidity levels down to eliminate air pollutants.

This is also why gyms must bring in experts to perform testing, adjusting, and balancing or TAB on a commercial building’s HVAC. By ensuring that your gym’s AC is working right, you can breathe the gym air with ease. TAB allows the proper air distribution throughout a commercial building or a big network of offices under one roof.

Take note that, aside from the virus, high levels of air pollutants can reverse the benefits of exercise. Instead of getting a health boost, improper ventilation could jeopardize your intentions.

A word of caution, though: keep socialization to the utmost minimum. Though you may be tempted to do high-fives and talk the hours away, it would be wise to refrain from doing so. Instead, always keep a six-feet distance from others. As CDC indicates, person-to-person contact is still the most effective way of passing the virus.

But that should not be a problem. If the gym management is doing their job well, you’re good to go.

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