Social Distancing in the Gym – Part 2
By Terry Boyd
The GYM Trenton
The pandemic has taken major tolls on people with many varying degrees of problems and even crises for many people. One of which is people’s state of mental health. According to WebMD the number one natural remedy for depression is routine, and number three is exercise. With lockdowns and routines all subjected to extreme changes, its no shock to find that a lot of people are depressed or struggling with day to day lives as we start to emerge from the strictest to lesser restrictive measures. Time to get back our routines, and for those who exercise at the gym, a speedy, but safe return. Enter the Gym.
I’m a huge believer in exercise and will often talk about how regular exercise for some people is therapy – this, in my opinion is a fact. Gyms are slowly opening, and people are returning to what used to be their way of life, but as I mentioned in my previous article, they will most likely never be the same as they once were. The biggest concerns are contracting COVID-19 through point of contact (touch) or droplet contamination from droplets from nose and mouth. Let me be clear, any measures in place will only mitigate the circumstances, never truly eradicate the virus, until there is a valid vaccine. There are precautions that are provided by health care professionals which we’ll discuss here.
As I mentioned the two major concerns are point of contact and droplet contamination. Most Gym’s have protocols in place to address both these concerns. When you walk into the Gym you can expect a number of changes. You will find multiple signs regarding cleaning protocols, signage for masks and the protocols, directional arrows, cleaning bottles, sneeze guards and more. It can be overwhelming and intimidating, just keep in mind the person assisting you behind the mask is happy you’re there. Ask questions. Gym’s are placing equipment apart to address the 6-foot rule of social distancing which means less equipment being available as well as potential lineups and scheduled equipment times. In addition, masks are to be worn into the Gym, depending on the health unit for your area differing requirements are stated, for example- in my area in Quinte West, face coverings are to be worn into the Gym and for as long as tolerable. Some Gyms interpret that as removing masks when on or using equipment ie) treadmill and replacing the masks when leaving the equipment to go to another piece of equipment or destination. Others still require masks to be worn at all times. Direction arrows may also be used to control the flow of traffic and incur less contact with other members. Cleaning your equipment before and after use is recommended. This has always been a protocol for Gyms due to bacteria, it’s even more important now.
People’s patience may not be great, yours included. It is important to observe all protocols to mitigate any contamination- this is your job. Remember it is not your job to tell someone else to do it. Rather than confront someone who you feel is not pulling their weight in fighting the fight against COVID-19, report to staff. People generally don’t take well to being confronted in public about their inappropriate actions or behaviour. Also, remember the rules and regulations as set out by the health unit or the Provincial Government guidelines are not the fault of the person behind the counter, taking out your frustrations with rules and regulations should not be tolerated.
We are not fully open as of yet, despite the progress we’ve made in this area and Ontario for that matter we are still a ways away from being fully open. Caution with common sense is the answer to Gym’s and members moving forward to a hopeful return to where we once were. In the mean time, this is a partnership with members and Gyms to ensure all parties are successful and healthy.
One thing that the lockdown has shown all people is we need each other and we need routine and exercise. By working together we can do our part in keeping these pieces together and in our lives.
421 Dundas St. Trenton