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My Gym and the Coronavirus

Workout or Not to Workout? That is the question.

News Flash! The Coronavirus is here in the United States. Not actually breaking news, but as someone who spends 40+ hours in a fitness environment weekly, I know that viruses can spread easily in gyms and health clubs because of shared equipment and skin-to-skin contact. So I wanted to make sure that gym owners and members have a solid plan for slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. Before jumping into a few do’s and don’ts please note that there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Here are questions I’ve done the research on to reduce the coronavirus and others from spreading in your gym.

Gym Owners:

When should I clean/disinfect fitness equipment and facilities?

  • Always keep facilities, such as locker rooms, and shared equipment clean whether or not the coronavirus has appeared in your city.
  • It's not just your responsibility. Be assertive in encouraging a shared responsibility with members to ensure that shared equipment is cleaned after each use and allowed to dry and ensure that there is plenty of safe and effective cleaning agents available for use.
  • Disinfecting equipment should happen at the closing of the facility and cleaning procedures enforced throughout the day as the chemical ingredients can be counterproductive or harmful to members during hours of operation.

How do I maximize the reduction in the coronavirus spreading in my facility?

  • Encourage members to stay home if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of cold/flu.
  • Review disinfecting/cleaning procedures and schedules with the janitorial/environmental service staff.
  • Focus on commonly touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people’s bare skin each day.
  • Disinfecting with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered detergents/disinfectants will remove viruses from surfaces. The products effective against Staphylococcus aureus are sufficient to kill the Coronavirus. See the list of EPA-registered products effective against Coronavirus
  • Follow the instruction labels on all cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, to make sure they are used safely and correctly.
  • Cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, can be irritating and exposure to these chemicals has been associated with health problems such as asthma and skin and eye irritation. Take appropriate precautions described on the product’s label instructions to reduce exposure. Wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection may be indicated.

Members:

How can I make sure I reduce my risk of exposure to the coronavirus at my gym?

  • Bring your own clean towel from home. Use it as a barrier between you and gym equipment that you may sit or lay on.
  • Clean shared equipment before using it. You never know if the previous user has the common courtesy of cleaning after themselves.
  • Fist Bump Celebration over High Five. Fist Bump Greeting over Handshake. If you feel the need to avoid all contact, I suggest that you stay home versus treating everyone as if they have the plague.
  • Vigorously wash your hands with soap and water before touching your face and immediately after your workout.. This continues to be the #1 technique endorsed by every infection control specialist and the CDC.

I look forward to your continued success in health and fitness. #FactsNOTFear