Here are things to know and consider before you visit your fitness studio or gym, according to Brian De Luca, director of Impact Sport Performance at UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and Geoff Dreher, a Johns Hopkins sports medicine doctor who told The New York Times you should “ask yourself if you need the gym for exercise benefits.”
Coronavirus cases: The positive rate has remained at or below 2% for several weeks in the region but there are fears it could climb with school reopenings and the start of flu season. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he will consider shutting down fitness facilities again if they do.
Your health: Avoid the visit if you are unhealthy, feel sick or have cold symptoms, or if you or someone with whom you have come in contact tested positive with the virus. Consider the same if you are over age 60, immunocompromised, or have diabetes or chronic pulmonary or heart conditions, Dreher said.
Planning your visit: Because physical distancing is key to novel coronavirus prevention – and capacity is limited 33% for now – you likely will need to schedule a visit.
Expect screening: The state-required procedure should include a temperature check and series of questions that seek to learn if you may have been exposed to the virus. In case someone else test positive with the virus who spent time at the gym while you did, you need to sign in and provide contact information.
Bring a mask: Masks that cover the nose and mouth limit the ability to spread the virus and provide some protection from contracting it. They must be worn properly by gym members and staff. A face shield will suffice but not a bandana under state guidelines.
Gym reopenings have confounded health departments across the globe, including in New York, where fitness business owners who thought they would be part of a phase four reopening in June had to wait until Aug. 24.
Transparency counts: Ask to see your facility’s reopening protocols. You also should know that a piece of equipment is clean when you walk up to use it because it has a tag or other indicator, De Luca said. It must be aligned at least 6 feet from other equipment.
Back-up: Sanitizing or hand-washing stations should be available and ready to use. Equipment must be disinfected between uses.
Danger zones: Bathrooms, locker rooms, door handles and high-traveled areas are among them. Minimize the times you use or move through them. Steer clear of congregating members.
Limit your workout: Some gyms and studios have shortened group classes and personal training sessions. Warm-up or cool-down by stretching, jogging or walking outside, Dreher told The New York Times. Shower at home.
Believe what you see and experience: “If it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut,” Dreher said. Gyms will be closed and can be fined up to $10,000 if they try to remain open and ignore state requirements.
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