When the COVID-19 pandemic hit American shores earlier this year, businesses all around the country were forced to shut down in order to flatten the curve. One of the biggest forms of business that was shut down was gyms. People all over the country were suddenly told they couldn’t go to the gym due to the risk of being around people or touching equipment that others have touched. Fast forward several months and depending on where you are in the country, gyms have either been opened or they’re beginning to open again. While that can be exciting, especially if you’ve struggled to keep up with your workouts while in quarantine, it’s important you’re still conscious about the pandemic and staying as healthy as possible when attending the gym. Here are a few tips to help you return to the gym safely during the pandemic.

Social Distance

Social distancing is of the utmost importance in all facets of life right now. While the circumstances can make it difficult at times, staying at least six feet away from others is a good way to stop the spread. Gyms will likely be enforcing this to the best of their ability, but it’s your personal responsibility to be aware. If you or someone near you is breathing heavily while working out, it’s probably best that you get even further away. This can be difficult depending on the layout of your gym though, so if you don’t think you can get 6 feet away, you might be better off not going to the gym.

Wear A Mask

While nobody wants to wear a mask while they’re working out, chances are your gym is going to make you do it anyway. Everywhere in the country is different but most places will make masks mandatory, especially since it’s likely due to state law. Beyond wearing a mask because you’re being told to, it’s just the healthy and considerate thing to do! If you don’t want to wear a mask while you workout, you might be better off doing it from the comfort of your home. In terms of other equipment, you might want to bring your own water bottle as well since water fountains won’t be open.

Avoid Group Classes

If you’re someone who typically attended group classes at your gym prior to the pandemic, it’s recommended you avoid them completely unless they’re outdoor or virtual. Indoor classes will likely be packed and even if they’re limiting the number of people in the classes, the fact that a large group of people will be gathering to do a high-intensity workout together indoors can make the virus spread faster.

Stay Home If You Don’t Feel Good

The ultimate advice for not only the gym but any situation where you’d be leaving your home and being around people is to stay home if you don’t feel well. No matter what your symptoms may be, it’s best to stay home until you recover both for your own health and the health of others.