6 Tips for Returning to a Post-Pandemic Gym
As we approach the midway mark of 2021, despite COVID’s best efforts, we are seeing a reduction in cases and more and more states opening back up.
This means no more occupancy limits (or less restrictions, at least), less required space for social distancing, the return of indoor activities like dining and sporting events, and more.
But make no mistake…
We are not returning to what was “normal,” rather we are beginning a “new normal.”
If you were a regular gym-goer prior to the pandemic, you might be wondering what precautions or steps you should be taking to return to your fitness routine safely.
Never fear, we are here to help you with those concerns and have detailed 6 things to consider as you reenter the gym:
1. Take motivating measures.
Here’s the thing, before you need to worry about getting back to the gym safely, you need to actually get back to the gym. 😉 There’s a good chance that all the down time you experienced over the past 12 months has taken you out of your fitness groove to some extent.
What was once a natural part of your schedule now needs to integrated back into your life. As they say, “old habits die hard.” But the flip side to that adage is that “old abandoned habits are even harder to resurrect.”
It won’t take long for you to get your workout groove back but, for the short term, you may need to use some motivating measures to kickstart your regular gym routine. These might include setting daily alarms and reminders, going with a workout partner, creating a recurring event in your daily calendar, or maybe just getting on the scale each day to remind yourself of the ultimate goal.
Regardless, you know what inspires you to exercise so lean into those motivations rather than the pillows on your couch.
2. Lighten up on yourself
OK, maybe you’ve been doing some neighborhood walking or body weight exercises in front of the TV to try your best to keep in shape. But group training, cardio machines, and heavy weights will push your limits a bit more than your “home workouts.”
Take it slow and don’t feel bad about it.
While it won’t take as long as you may think to get back to your old fitness levels, it will still take time. Ease into your workouts and slowly build back up to where you may have left off. Listen to your body and, when it seems to be screaming “SLOW DOWN,” do so.
Make sure you are stretching adequately, staying hydrated, and giving yourself enough recovery time between gym sessions.
Don’t worry. You’ll get there! Do it slowly and safely so an untimely injury doesn’t derail your efforts.
3. Know your gym’s safety protocols beforehand.
Every state has different rules and expectations for gyms. Some facilities may insist on temperature checks when entering the gym, or they may require you to “reserve a space” in an attempt to quell occupancy concerns. They may insist on clients wearing a mask during their visits and adhering to some degree of social distancing measures.
Regardless, know what you are walking into before you arrive. Make sure you are personally comfortable with the protocols they’ve instituted.
4. Bring your own towel and water bottle.
There’s a good chance that you may already be doing this, but many states have required businesses to turn off public water fountains, including in gyms.
Bring water with you so you can stay adequately hydrated during your workout. Also, don’t forget a towel but be careful where you put it, especially if you’re touching your face with it.
5. Wipe down everything.
The majority of gyms we’ve seen provide sanitation stations throughout the gym, stocked with disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer dispensers, and paper towels. Be sure to take advantage of these amenities by regularly cleaning and wiping down everything you touch before and after – including weights, mats, cardio machines, and resistance bands.
This is just a good practice, COVID aside, because gyms can become a breeding ground for bacteria and you don’t need to bring any of that home with you.
6. Have a plan, but don’t be married to it.
As gyms open back up and loosen restrictions, you are going to see a sharp increase in crowds but with less usable space and equipment to accommodate them. Rather than going to the gym and meandering around as you try to figure out what you want to do next, have a plan ready so you can get in and out, reducing your exposure to airborne illnesses like COVID while reducing the strain on the gym caused by more patrons.
Remember: Try to remain flexible with your routines. There may be less available equipment to choose from. In other words, have a backup plan.
Without a doubt, it is encouraging to see the world opening up and getting back to a semblance of normalcy. We all need to realize that there will continue to be changes and challenges as we adapt to this new normal. The gym is no exception. If you take these considerations on board, you should be able to handle your gym reentry without any hiccups.
And don’t forget – we’re ready at Bee Healthy Clinics to help you along on your weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey. Reach out to your nearest location any time.