Information You Need: As fitness facilities reopen, how can I stay safe while working out?

A court decision on August 4th ruled that in counties that meet COVID-19 case metrics, gyms, fitness clubs, and fitness centers will be given the opportunity to apply for reopening at 25% capacity. Since then, the Arizona Department of Health Services has released guidelines that gyms and health centers must follow in order for their applications to be accepted. Many businesses that have applied have been allowed to reopen as long as they continue to be in compliance with the safety regulations. 

So now that fitness facilities are beginning to reopen, you may be wondering: Is it safe to return to the gym?

  • There is no entirely risk-free way to visit a gym or fitness facility. Businesses will do their best to keep areas sanitized and disinfected, but it is impossible for their efforts to be perfect. Safety and disinfection are everyone’s responsibility. Here are some safety precautions that can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 if you do decide to return to a fitness facility:
Before going to the fitness facility:
 STAY HOME IF:
You are feeling ill
If you have a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees celsius)
If you know that you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case (you spent 15 or more minutes within less than 6 feet, regardless of wearing face coverings) 
If someone you have had close contact with is feeling ill
✓ CHECK WITH YOUR FITNESS FACILITY TO SEE IF APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO WORK OUT
At many fitness facilities, attendees are required to make appointments before arriving at the facility to ensure that they are operating at reduced capacity. 
✓ CONSIDER CALLING AHEAD TO FIND OUT WHEN THE FACILITY IS LEAST BUSY
Whenever possible, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. COVID-19 spreads more easily in these areas
If you arrive at the fitness facility and it is crowded, consider returning at a different time
Ask the facility if outdoor fitness options are available
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
Upon arriving, wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer 
✓ ONLY BRING ESSENTIAL PERSONAL ITEMS TO THE FACILITY
Bring only essential items such as keys and your wallet
If possible bring your own towel, mat, and a bag to bring them in (be sure to wash your hands after placing your gym items back into the bag).
✓ GET YOUR FLU SHOT
This is more important now than ever! 
While at the fitness facility:
✓ OPT FOR EXERCISING OUTDOORS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones, COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors in confined spaces
✓  MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING 
Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from others
 WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING
Do this whenever possible, especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained
Those participating in high intensity workouts may not be required to wear masks, if this is the case, consider avoiding a facility or class especially if you are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 
Check with your gym about specific regulations for wearing cloth face coverings 
 OPT FOR WORKING OUT ALONE INSTEAD OF IN FITNESS CLASSES
Working out alone is a safer alternative to a workout class with a group of people
There are also lots of free fitness apps that provide online class workouts to participate in at home
If you do decide to participate in a group fitness class be sure to follow physical distancing guidelines.
✓ WIPE DOWN EQUIPMENT BEFORE AND AFTER USE
If possible, bring your own disinfecting wipes to use before and after using equipment
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
When switching between pieces of equipment, regularly wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer 
✓ AVOID CONGREGATING IN GROUPS
It is important to maintain physical distancing in lobbies, waiting areas, etc. 
If possible, wait outside if the facility is crowded or if you do decide to participate in a fitness group.
✓ IF POSSIBLE, LAY A TOWEL DOWN IF YOU ARE WORKING OUT ON THE FLOOR
This will reduce your risk of touching virus particles that have landed on the floor
✓ IF POSSIBLE, AVOID USING SHARED SPACES OR OBJECTS 
This includes locker rooms (these may temporarily closed at your facility), restrooms, water fountains, chalk bins, etc.
Limiting the number of machines or equipment you use is also a good idea and be sure to wash your hands in between each use.
After leaving the fitness facility:
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
Regularly wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer upon before leaving
✓ CHANGE CLOTHES AND SHOWER ONCE YOU RETURN HOME
It is a good idea to change into different clothing, leave your shoes outside, and shower after you return home as COVID-19 has the potential to remain on clothing and surfaces.

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