Stay Fit, Stay Healthy: Gyms open up but don’t let down your guard as yet

Ministry of Home Affairs allowed reopening of gyms and yoga centres across the country from August 5, under Unlock 3.0 guidelines. They however continue to remain shut in COVID-19 containment zones.

The decision to take a final call for reopening of these establishments was however given to state governments. Around 20 states and UTs have already given a nod to gyms and fitness centres for resuming operations, and more are expected to follow suit.

Centre had also issued SOPs for gymnasiums and fitness centres including specifications on maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet, avoiding yogic kriyas or planning them in open spaces, dividing people in separate batches to avoid overcrowding, etc.

The question remains, is it really safe to visit gyms and fitness centres during these trying times?

In a study conducted earlier this year , researchers found bacteria, flu causing virus and other germs on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in four different fitness centres.

Dr. James Voos, senior author of the study said, “When you have a relatively high density of people exercising and sweating in a contained space, you have conditions where communicable diseases can spread easily.”

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Experts say that one should understand that there is some risk involved in visiting fitness centres as they are closed spaces and a breeding ground for germs. However, if necessary precaution is practised at all times, the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus can be reduced.

One of the suggestions given by experts is that before using gym equipment, always clean them with a disinfectant. When spraying a disinfectant, let it stay for a minute before wiping it so that any germs on the surface would be killed. Moreover, gym owners need to make sure that the gym area is well-ventilated.

With the drive to restore normalcy in full swing, various establishments are starting to reopen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the pandemic situation has become any better. Keeping in mind the well-being of the economy, countries have decided to start the process of unlocking. There is still a need to practice all necessary precautions until an effective vaccine is found.

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