Social Distancing & the 2-Metre Rule

By Terry Boyd
The GYM Trenton

I have been asked several times over the past few weeks what can be expected when gym’s re-open, it’s a good question. It is a question with no absolute answer. Given that every gym is different from the next, be it equipment, location, community population or membership make-up every gym has it’s unique set of circumstances that require it to be fluid and able to change as information about COVID-19 ebbs and flows. I’ll tackle a few of the basic questions that all gyms will inevitably have to answer.

The basic premise behind social distancing is a 2-metre rule, this is due to expiration of droplets from breathing which enables the virus to spread from one person to another. New information contradicts previous information that the virus is easily transferred from surfaces, in fact it is harder to transfer from a surface as previously stated. So, where does that leave us? There are several Provinces, States and Countries all with stages of “re-opening” ranging from 3-5 stages and sometimes more. Typically Gym’s are lumped in with recreational facilities, nightclubs and arenas where people are in close proximity to each other. The amount of people able to congregate also varies from place to place and stage to stage (see what I mean about being fluid). For the foreseeable future Gyms will have to be able to accommodate the 2 metre rule and depending on the area and stage requirement- limited numbers.

The 2 metre rule is easier in a set environment, however when people are exercising and breathing heavier than the norm, other measures will have to be in place. Face masks or a cloth face covering is becoming mandatory for some businesses and companies and is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facemasks in a gym brings to mind a lot of questions; is my breathing compromised (hypoxia), will I get sick, or dizzy- the answer is yes and… no (again being fluid). The volume of oxygen remains the same in the air you are breathing in through the mask, however the amount of air can be compromised. For the average healthy person this means you should monitor yourself for dizziness, light-headedness, numbness or shortness of breath. You can expect to get tired more quickly, but similar to an oxygen deprivation mask you will get used to it. However, if you have underlying respiratory conditions a face mask or covering is not a good idea. Always seek medical advice before exercising, always a prudent measure especially with these conditions. Then what would you do? A lot of gyms are going to barriers between cardio machines, which could be a good answer that is easy to assemble or disassemble without compromising the integrity of the equipment while providing maximum safety for the member

The future gym will have to accommodate the laws and policies of the local, provincial and federal governments relying heavily on the cooperation of the membership for patience and understanding as each specific gym changes with requirements. I think the only sure thing in all of this, is that gyms will never be the same. There is a standard of 10 written and unwritten set of rules that are all encompassing and even more relevant now more than ever.

Put everything back where it belongs.

Don’t hog the equipment.

Wipe things down after use – (more important now) with an approved hard-surface sanitizer (

Always ask if someone’s is using equipment before taking over.

Be mindful of your surroundings- in particular 2 metre rule plus.

Bring a towel, take it with you.

Be discreet with selfies – tracking progress is one thing, posing for insta or FB- quite another.

Respect personal space – no brainer.

Socially people like to congregate and chat at the gym- unfortunately most gyms will have time slots or scheduled times for groups- at least for the time being. Be mindful that someone is waiting to workout too.

Keep the equipment where it belongs- don’t drag an aerobic step into the weight pit and do your old school version of step aerobics to “Swamp Thing” playing on your headphones.

Ok – I added another one – if someone is wearing headphones/ ear buds, leave them alone, there is a reason for it.

At the end of the day the new gym will have plastic barriers, mask requirements, temperature taking, time slots, specific days, less classes, outdoor options, sanitizer stations, no cash policies- some will be over the top, some not enough, but this is the “new normal” (I hate that term). One thing is for sure- it will never be the same experience, but for those who know and feel fitness in their lives, whether weightlifters, cardio junkies, yogis, or whatever your fitness vice may be, you’ll find a way. One thing that this pandemic has taught us, we need fitness not just for our physical lives but our mental health.

421 Dundas St. Trenton