Gyms and Studios in a Covid World

Around the world gyms and studios have been closed due to Covid. While Alberta’s plans to open gyms are still at least a few weeks off, here’s some of the ways that your gym or studio experience might look different when you return.

No dressing/changing rooms Almost across the board, dressing rooms have not been included in gym reopenings. With the close quarters, many high touch surfaces and sweaty clothes going everywhere, it’s not hard to see why. For those that go to work before or after the gym though, it’s going to be an inconvenience. It might also be a good idea to stock up on some car air freshener.

No water fountains For anyone that relies on the water fountain for their workout hydration, water fountains likely wouldn’t be in commission for awhile. While gyms and studios will likely start selling bottled water, it’s probably worth it to buy a water bottle or two if you don’t have one.

Bring Your Own Equipment You likely wouldn’t be able to walk into a studio empty handed. While many studios had equipment you could use for free or pay a fee to use, you’re probably going to have to bring your own now. If you haven’t bought a yoga mat, blocks, dumbells or whatever you usually use in class, you may as well buy them now and have them for your at home workout until things open up.

6-10 Feet of Spacing You will not have to worry about accidentally hitting the person beside you, nor will you have to worry about anyone hitting you. Fitness classes will have a lot more space to move around in and could also potentially have markers telling you where to stand. Cramped gyms may have to move out some of their equipment. There also wouldn’t be any more giant charity classes with the energy of a 100 people.

Gym Scheduling With the reduced capacity, gyms may require you to book a time slot before coming. For those with changing schedule, this could be difficult but it’s a good way to deal with capacity issues.

No Contact There will be no more high fives or sweaty hugs. There also wouldn’t be any hands on adjustments from yoga teachers. For those that like to lift heavy, spotting may no longer be available.

Fans/AC There’s many gyms in Calgary that rely on fans or small AC units to cool things off in the summer. Unfortunately with the concerns about droplet spread, your gym or studio workout may get a little hotter.

Gloves and Masks Gloves, masks or both may be required for your workout. While masks are uncomfortable, particularly when exercising, they may be deemed necessary in many public places if more evidence emerges on their effectiveness.

Group Circuit Training Circuit training classes and gyms have taken off in the last few years. Large adjustments will have to be made to these classes. Instead of rotating people through people will have to stay in the same spot and you’ll no longer be able to switch on and off equipment.

For anyone that’s eager to head to the gym or studio right away, it’s important to know that things are going to be different. If a few or many of these things make you uncomfortable it might be worth looking at online options or buying more equipment for your home to keep up your home workout.

Resources to learn more:
Alberta Reopening Plan

Interviews with Large Gym Owners

USA Reopening Plans

New Zealand Return to Sport and Physical Activity

Global gym reopening

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