It’s been three months since the country shut down in an effort to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. In that time, many of us have done our best to ward off packing on the “quarantine 15” to varying levels of success.
Regardless of whether you want to lose weight or move weight, returning to the gym presents its own challenges in the age of Covid-19. Challenges so vast, the CDC released guidelines on how to best balance your desire to work out with your desire to stay healthy.
Among the recommendations to stay healthy while you get sweaty are the following:
1. Keep it clean: Wipe down machines and equipment with disinfecting wipes, and use hand sanitizer.
2. Locker room etiquette: Know that locker rooms might only be open so people can use the bathroom and wash their hands.
3. Face masks work: Wear a mask during low-intensity workouts and when interacting with others.
4. Take it outside: Consider doing any vigorous exercise outside.
5. Sharing is not caring: Avoid sharing items like resistance bands or weight-lifting belts that cannot be cleaned between each use.
6. No contact: No high-fives or elbow bumps.
7. Solo workouts are best: Limit your number of indoor group fitness classes.
8. Keep social distancing: Maintain 6 feet of separation in areas that may lead to close contact, including weight rooms and fitness studios.
In addition to tweaking how you work out, consider adjusting when you work out. Zenreach is a marketing company that tracks trends in consumer foot traffic patterns for retailers, restaurants and yes, gyms. According to their research, foot traffic at gyms is down 78 percent year-over-year, largely due to the increased risk of exposure to germs.
Zenreach’s research also suggests that the safest days to go to the gym are Sunday and Monday, particularly before 8 a.m. But if you’re not a morning person, fear not. If you’re still going to hit the gym on a Sunday, but can’t wake up at the crack of dawn, focus on squeezing in your workout as early as you can manage.
If you’re looking to schedule a rest day, Thursdays and Saturdays are preferable. These days generally see the most activity of any during the week. Early Saturday afternoon, from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m., is when gyms are at their most crowded overall.
So if you’re going to hit the gym, a good rule of thumb to follow is the earlier, the better — both earlier in the week and earlier in the day (if you can manage). These strategies will help you avoid crowds and add an extra layer of precaution to keep you safe.