During the dreadful and unprecedented lockdown that most of the world recently faced, people all around are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. During the lockdown, many people found themselves lost and extremely bored. Sports and other physical activities dropped off rapidly. Slowly, businesses had to return back to somewhat normal operations while figuring out how to continue business with the new COVID-19 guidelines. Most organizations and companies have finally reopened to the public, with gyms joining as well.
The lockdown Michiganders faced back in early March shut down life as we knew it. Gyms were one of the first places to “temporarily” close, and by the end of June, most businesses were allowed to reopen in some form or another. There were, however, some exceptions. Bowling alleys, gyms, and movie theaters remained closed. The Governor would not issue an order for the reopening of these places because of the numerous health concerns associated in these high risk businesses.
The health benefits of gyms are clear. They provide regular exercise, help to fight off depression, and improve sleep. The CDC also released that physical activity “aids your heart and circulation.” Staying fit may be a way to avoid a serious case of Covid-19. However, there are risks of contracting the virus at a gym as well. People are constantly sweating everywhere and the sharing of equipment could cause gyms to be the perfect breeding ground for a virus like COVID-19
Clayton Bone, a senior at Notre Dame Prep shares these same concerns. “I don’t plan on returning to indoor gyms anytime soon. I have everything I need in my garage,” stated Bone.
There have only been a few scattered cases that were contracted directly from the use of gyms or other indoor physical activity places, in Michigan. Throughout the state, there could have been many more cases that were linked to the gym but it is hard for specialists to be certain. Although people are itching to get back in the gym, many are hesitant as well. The younger age group is apt to rejoin but for older individuals, it is a larger risk to take.
Recently, the strong push towards reopening has finally succeeded. However, the return of the gym is far from what you would expect. For gyms to reopen, they have many protocols to abide by. A small list of these guidelines are listed below, and more in depth information can be found at Michigan.gov:
Gym capacity is limited to 25% of the normal occupancy
Workout stations must enable six feet of distance between individuals exercising
Provide equipment cleaning products at every station and make hand sanitizer ready and available
Ensure ventilation systems operate properly as well as increase outdoor air circulation as much as possible
Steam room, sauna’s, jacuzzis, in cold pools must remain closed
If you do plan on returning to the gym, expect changes to your workout.
“Many machines are cautioned off to ensure social distancing. The popular lifting machines are usually always taken up, since fewer are available,” said Zac Potestivo, senior at Brother Rice High School.
Overall, gyms reopening is a step in the right direction. Christmas came a little early for the gym rats!