Your local fitness center is open and misses you. Just like many businesses forced to pivot this year, the fitness industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and mandatory closures. And while some people jumped at the chance to get back into their fitness routine when gyms were cleared to reopen, many are still hesitant about huffing and puffing indoors. But now is not the time to let your physical activity slip. It’s critical to your health to stay active as we head into flu season during this pandemic.
The CDC recently updated its list of individuals who are at high risk of severe complications from Covid-19 to include people who are overweight in addition to those who are obese. According to the CDC, America was already facing a national health crisis before the pandemic. More than 70% of adults are considered overweight or obese, with 42% of adults being considered obese. Doctors say physical activity plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and can lessen the impact of Covid-19 should you be infected. Exercise is essential, and the fitness industry is doing everything it can to make it accessible to all.
So, if your virtual yoga classes aren’t providing that pre-Covid zen, or if you’re dreaming of a simple change of scenery from the four walls you’ve spent the last six months in, your gym is waiting for you with open arms. Fitness centers across the country are going above and beyond to keep their members safe and healthy. With a revitalized focus on sanitization and reorganized spaces to allow for more distance between members, fitness centers are one of the safest places you can visit right now. To help ease your mind even more and keep yourself and others safe, follow these five tips during your next trip to the gym:
- Know before you go. It’s likely your fitness center has a few new rules in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. Be prepared and look them up before your first visit back, so there are no surprises. Smaller facilities may have a reservation system, larger ones may have a way to check to see how many people are at your facility at any given time. Planet Fitness has a live crowd meter on its website and app that allows you to see, in real time, how close your local fitness center is to capacity. They also have has a touchless check-in process using the PF app. As always, if you’re feeling anything less than 100%, take the extra precaution and stay home. We’ll be ready for you once you’re feeling better.
- Wear your mask. Mask wearing is part of our new normal. In Colorado, it’s required to wear a mask inside even while you’re actively working out. There are several masks on the market these days that are light, breathable, workout-friendly and affordable. Try taking active rest breaks during your cardio workouts if you need to catch your breath. Watch this video for more tips for working out with your mask on.
- Keep 6 feet apart. Your local gym owners have done the hard part for you. With workout spaces reorganized to allow for more space between members, and machines temporarily marked for out-of-use, it won’t be difficult to keep six feet apart. However, it’s still important to be mindful and aware of your surroundings. Keep your distance while checking in, stretching, lifting free weights or using bathrooms and locker rooms.
- Disinfect your equipment and wash your hands often. Most fitness centers have stocked up on extra sanitization stations upon reopening to make this as easy as possible. Wash or sanitize your hands often and wipe down your equipment before and after each use. Planet Fitness has turbo-charged its cleaning efforts with additional cleaning stations clearly marked with yellow flags, and you’ll see staff members continually roaming the facility in order to keep the club clean and sanitized at all times.
- Be kind. We’re all in this together, so choose kindness first. One thing we all have in common: this pandemic has impacted everyone in one way or another. You never know what your neighbor may be battling, or what it took for them to show up at the gym on any given day. According to the CDC, over 40% of Americans reported struggling with mental health or substance use during the pandemic. Even more heartbreaking, one in four young adults have also contemplated suicide during the pandemic. The CDC says physical activity has long-term physical and mental health benefits, including reducing the risk of stress and depression. So, give your brain a boost, smile behind your mask and give a thumbs up to your neighbor to offer encouragement.
In an industry committed to health and wellness, gym owners are stepping up to ensure the safety of their members as everyone continues to navigate our new normal. With increased sanitization and strict safety protocols, your local fitness center is ready to welcome you back. Planet Fitness is making fitness more accessible and affordable than ever before. With 30 locally owned and operated locations across Colorado, there is a facility near you. And Planet Fitness memberships start at just $10 a month with zero enrollment fees. So, mask up, wash your hands and get ready to sweat for your health.