Online Originals: Health expert shares advice before heading back to gym

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) North Carolina’s reopening Phase 2.5 process is creating excitement and concern. The new phase allows gyms and indoor exercise facilities to open at 30% capacity.

The reopening process poses an important question to gym-goers across the state– How will people stay safe and maintain their health while working-out indoors?

“Your health and safety is the number one priority when coming back to the gym,” said Savanna Barefoot, East Carolina University College of Health & Human Performance.

ECU faculty members spent the past few months researching COVID-19 mitigation protocols within lab-based facilities.

“We are a research lab that does exercise training,” said Barefoot. “We have a reopening plan that had to be approved by ECU, detailing everything that we are doing– how we are cleaning, how we are screening people, how we are doing every aspect of our job.”

They’ve used guidance from local, state, and national health officials which led to protocols that may benefit gyms and indoor exercise facilities reopening to the public. One example: letting people know what disinfectant gyms are using.

“Know what cleaning supplies and things you are using and what the actual kill times are of those cleaning supplies. A lot of times, these disinfectants get sprayed on something and don’t stay wet for the proper amount of time,” added Barefoot.

Experts say the cleaning process is vital to assure bacteria and viruses like COVID-19 are killed off before they spread.

“Just make sure that whatever piece of equipment you are using and the disinfectant you are using to kill any type of bacteria, virus, or anything like that, that you are using it properly,” explained Barefoot.

When you do return to the gym, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  

“Ask your gym what their protocols are, what their start-up procedures are going to be.”

Keep your own health and safety in mind. Experts advise the use of face masks and maintaining a safe social distance between others. Your health and safety is the number one priority when heading back to the gym.

Lastly, take it easy.

“You’re probably not going to be back to the level what you were when you left back in March. So, just kind of taking it easy and not going back into it every single day, make sure you are taking enough rest breaks and things like that,” Barefoot explained.

This is one-time health experts encourage you to be overcautious. Don’t assume someone else has cleaned the equipment before you. Take the initiative and do it yourself.

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