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Family First with FOX43: Gym safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

As fitness centers across Pennsylvania reopen, what are you doing to keep the virus away as you go to workout?

COVID stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted in many states and for some, that means back to the gym. Good hygiene has always been a must at fitness centers, but it’s never been more important than right now. What are the best steps to stay COVID-free while getting fit?

On the treadmill, the weight bench, or in a class. This is one place that a lot of people have missed.

Pittsburgh, PA resident Jen Evans exclaimed to Ivanhoe, “I was excited! I was like, let me in!  I’m ready! I was ready to go!”

But what should you watch for when you take your workout from the street to the gym?

“I didn’t really know how they were going to change up what they’re doing to make sure it’s cleaner,” said another Pittsburgh resident Ryan Sheils.  

For starters, make sure you give yourself plenty of space and machines have been moved apart.

“I would argue even more than six feet, maybe ten feet or so, because the big the problem is, when you’re breathing hard and panting and at the gym, you’re actually spreading more of the virus than if you’re sitting and not exerting yourself,” explained Purvi Parikh, MD an immunologist at the Allergy And Asthma Network.

With that in mind, Dr. Parikh says masks are a must. If you don’t like covering your mouth and nose during cardiovascular exercise, ask if your gym can move some fitness classes outdoors. Make sure machines have disinfectant nearby or bring your own wipes. Finally, avoid the locker room and shower at home.

Dr. Parikh expressed, ““Many healthcare workers, including myself, do this. That when we go either to the office or hospital, as soon as we come home, we leave the shoes outside and whatever is on our body immediately goes into the wash.”

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found flu virus, drug-resistant bacteria, like MSRA and other germs on 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in high school and college training facilities … and that was before COVID-19, so experts say again, it’s really important these days to pay attention to your surroundings in the gym.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.