Health And Wellness

5 Steps For A Safe Return To The Gym After Quarantine

Photo: Damiano Buffo /
5 Steps For A Safe Return To The Gym After Quarantine

By Mia Barnes

Have you recently returned to the gym after spending your whole quarantine on the couch? You’re definitely not alone.

But if you worry about catching COVID-19 at the gym, here are five hygiene tips that will make your trips to the gym safer and more fun for everyone.

RELATED: 20 Best At Home Gym Equipment To Stay Fit & Toned While Stuck Inside

1. Wash your hands.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials worried that asymptomatic coronavirus carriers would cause widespread infection. However, recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines claim that this transmission method is unlikely.

But, of course, COVID-19 isn’t the only nastiness you should worry about when you use public workout facilities. All of the same germs from those disgusting shopping cart handles can inhabit pulldown machines as well. 

Wash your hands before going to the gym and after you leave. If you have to touch door handles after you lather up, squirt on some hand sanitizer as you exit the gym. 

2. Limit contact with others. 

While silently spreading COVID-19 appears unlikely at this point, that doesn’t mean you can’t spread the disease when you show symptoms. Experts recommend staying home for at least 24 hours if you have a cough, body aches, or sniffles.

If you have a fever, self-quarantine until your temperature returns to normal. Pushing through a challenging workout when you feel like death-warmed-over won’t make you recover quicker, and it could also contaminate others.

RELATED: 5 Steps To Help You Return To Work After Coronavirus

3. Wash your clothing.

Do you leave your sweaty clothes molding in your gym bag overnight? Maybe you don’t even bother swapping out your socks, opting instead to don a damp, chilly pair from yesterday’s elliptical session.

If this sounds like you, go to the laundromat at once, please.

Research indicates that cold feet can make you more susceptible to germs, and filthy clothes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Plus, nobody else at the gym wants to enjoy Eau de Three-Day-Old-Sweat.

4. Carry supplies with you.

You touch something questionable, head to the hand sanitizer station, and find it empty. What should you do? In the wake of COVID-19, you learn to make like a Girl or Boy Scout and prepare ahead. 

Carry sanitizing wipes and antibacterial in your vehicle. While you don’t want to leave a bottle of gel sitting on your dashboard, keeping a package of wipes in your glove compartment shouldn’t result in vehicle damage.

If you’re going running or biking, your increased respiration can send droplets further than six feet, so carry a mask with you and cover your nose and mouth when you approach passersby. 

5. Wipe down equipment. 

Most fitness facilities contain more germs than they do 20-pound dumbbells, yet gym-goers still refuse to wipe down equipment after use. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t leave a sweat puddle or a stain on that stationary bike.

Bacteria and viruses are microscopic, so use the sanitizer wipe containers most gyms have everywhere. When it comes to hygiene and killing germs, wiping your equipment with a dry towel won’t cut it. 

You might be chomping at the bit to return to your previous fitness routine now that your gym has reopened, but make sure to prevent the spread of germs when you return to your favorite gym. When you take steps to practice hygiene, your fellow gym patrons will stay healthy, too.

RELATED: 10 Things To Do At Home To Stay Active And Fit During Coronavirus Quarantine

Mia Barnes is a writer who focuses on health and wellness, self-care, and mental health. For more of her health and wellness content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.