While home workouts have been keeping us motivated–and fit—during the lockdown, going to the gym to get in your sweat session in is still a whole different experience. “Gyms are basically spaces for enjoying the collective adrenaline rush. Merely looking at someone working alongside sometimes can be a trigger to perform better. This is the fundamental fabric of gyms,” says Pallavi Barman, head & Marketing & Operations at HRX. While the dates for opening vary across states, it is evident that when gyms do reopen across the country, they will look a whole lot different than they did a few months ago.
Everything will have to be sanitised
Celebrity fitness expert and Pilates trainer Namrata Purohit is looking forward to gyms reopening while every precaution is maintained for the safety of the clients. “We have put in place a lot of protocols to make sure the studio is a safe space to workout. The place will be deeply sanitised before and after each class.” Shraddha Sheth, VP, sales, marketing and operations at Gold’s Gym India agrees. “There will be sanitisation stations at various locations in the gym which will have hand sanitisers for members. We will ensure that anyone who walks inside the premises must clean up before interacting with anyone.”
Distancing will be key
“All members and employees will be screened for temperature. Since only pre-booked appointments will be entertained, all guests will have to present a valid ID proof at the time of entry,” says Sheth. While Purohit’s classes will run by strictly appointment only to avoid over-crowding, Gold Gym will permit you inside the premises only once you have scheduled a prior appointment via their app. To ensure 50 per cent gym capacity, members will be allowed a restricted workout duration.
Most gyms have reorganised their interiors to ensure that the equipment at the gym is kept six feet distance apart as per the social distancing norms. “An attendant will be posted in the locker room restricting access to the washrooms and change rooms,” adds Sheth. “Expect the front end or reception to change with minimal or no employees, as most gyms will digitalise their payment and receipt generations processes,” she says.
Besides maintaining hygiene and safety norms, Barman suggests, “Circuit-based workouts are a safe suggestion. In this case, a combination of each reps and times spent in each station is created. It’ll be multiple people working out together with a singular goal except training in different stations and not coming in contact with each other. Secondly, if the dependence on equipment is reduced and there is more focus on function body weight reps, then risk is further mitigated,” she shares. If patrons are to work out with a personal trainer, keeping distance is just as important.
Mask requirements will vary
“Our trainers and staff will wear masks and gloves while conducting the sessions and disinfectant will be distributed throughout the locker rooms for the ease of cleaning,” says Sheth. However, while that’s a precaution that the gym staff takes, exercising with a mask is not suggested for those doing heavy exercises. “Wearing a mask during exercise will act as a barrier to airflow, which can lower the oxygen levels in the re-circulated air. It is a well-known fact that heart rate increases during exercise. But wearing a mask during exercise further increases heart rate by manifold, which can cause dehydration, light-headedness and dizziness and can even result in adverse cardiac effects,” warns warns Dr SK Mundhra, head of department of internal medicine, Saroj SuperSpeciality Hospital.
4 things you should know before going to the gym
- Dr Mundhra advises carrying your own sanitiser as well. “The dumbbells, machines and everything in the gym are potential hotbeds to germs (before and during COVID). It is thus better to spray or sanitise the equipment before and after using it.”
- Bringing your own yoga mats, hand towels and water bottles can help to maintain hygiene and minimise spread of infections.
- Showering and changing after the workout is done is a good idea. “Once the workout is over, immediately take a shower and change into a fresh outfit. This will ensure minimal transfer of germs,” says Dr Mundhra.
- Dr Mundhra cautions that various patients with co-morbid/pre-existing conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or respiratory ailments who were earlier hitting the gym for their well-being and good health should refrain from visiting the gym for the time being.
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