Governor Whitmer gave gyms and pools in Southeast Michigan the all clear to reopen last week, with an extensive list of safety protocols to ensure a safe and successful reopen of those facilities.
Under this new order, gyms and pools are required to implement several safety protocols to reduce risk of exposure among guests:
- 25 percent capacity
- Mandatory mask-wearing at all times
- Six feet between workout stations
- Social distancing during workout classes
- Guests must provide name and phone number upon entry
- Saunas and jacuzzies must remain closed
- Masks must be worn
- Reduced class sizes to allow for six feet between participants
- 25 percent capacity for indoor pools, 50 percent for outdoor
Indoor and outdoor sports, bowling alleys, and ice rinks have also been permitted to resume operations with safety protocols in place.
Whether you are ready to hit the gym now or are hesitant to return, below are strategies for staying safe as Michigan gyms and fitness centers reopen.
Call ahead: Contact your gym or pool to see what they are doing to ensure minimal exposure and spread. Some facilities may be scheduling appointments to avoid large crowds during popular times and turning people away at the door. Showers may also be closed so plan accordingly.
Wear a mask: It is required that a mask be worn during your entire workout. This may not be ideal during certain exercises, but it is one of the most effective ways of minimizing transmission of COVID-19. Consider doing the cardio portion of your workout outdoors if it’s too difficult to wear a mask while running, biking, etc. at the gym.
Ease back into it: If you don’t feel ready to jump back into a full gym routine, continue exercising from home. As you feel more comfortable, slowly incorporate one to two gyms days into your schedule.
Be aware of your surroundings: Have additional sanitizing stations been added? Are employees enforcing social distancing among gym patrons? Does the facility feel crowded? If at any point you feel uncomfortable, address your concerns with the fitness center’s management team.
Be flexible: Adapting is an art we have become all too familiar with throughout the pandemic. Be willing to adjust your workout based on the amount of people that day. If the treadmills are packed, opt for a HIIT workout or stretching session in another area. Being flexible with your workout and avoiding larger groups of people will reduce contact and possible exposure.
Wipe down machines before and after use: Gym etiquette pre-pandemic included wiping down machines after use. Now, it is recommended you wipe equipment down before you begin your exercise to minimize exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding equipment that is difficult to clean such as foam rollers, resistance bands, and weight belts.
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of returning to the gym anytime soon, here are creative ways to stay active at home.
The reopening of gyms across Southeast Michigan will re-introduce a work- out routine for many. If you plan to return to the gym, ensure you are taking all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others healthy and safe.