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Returning To The Gym After Quarantine – Safety 101


Does your body itch at the thought of going back to the gym after quarantine?

Here is a quick 101 before you go back to your fortress of fitness.

Apart from your itches, your love for going back to the gym can be quantified by how much you catch yourself daydreaming about it. It’s perfect, you’re maxing out your final reps during a rigorous set of dumbbell curls. After you are done, you walk over in front of the mirror, check yourself out and think “wow, I should have been a model”.

The good news is that many gyms and fitness centers are operational once again. These are attempts to lift lockdown measures and restart life. Experts have said that Coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon. We would simply have to live with it. But, if we adopt a few lifestyle changes, the chances of contracting this virus go down.

The mandatory public health and safety measures include: social distancing, temperature checks, use of masks and gloves and constant sanitation of hands. Also, there is a limit to how many people can be in a certain area.

Gyms, pubs, and small business are the first to re-open after lockdown as long as they adhere to social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Excited to return to your haven of self-improvement?

You can finally toss out the backpack filled with weights you’ve been using as a makeshift barbell. But, before you start editing your “Beast Workout Mix” on Spotify, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

For one, your body has been on a long break and this leads to deconditioning. Second, you need adopt a health checklist to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

Read more: A Life Changing Fitness and Mental Health Journey of Maiyah Kenz 

Key Points Before Going Back To The Gym

Health 101:


Lifting 101:


Going Back To The Gym – Health 101

Follow social distancing:


Make sure to keep 2 meters apart from everyone around you. Especially if you are thinking about using the treadmill or any other cardio equipment. These movement get you huffing and puffing, so maintain your distance.

Whether you are using equipment or dumbbells, you need to be mindful of your protective space and others as well. Experts advise to avoid group training sessions like yoga. However, if your fitness studio is only allowing a limited amount of participants with proper distancing guidelines and the use of a mask, then there should be no problem.

Make reservations in advance:

Gyms are not allowed to operate at full capacity because of social distancing. Going back to the gym has to be a bit more thought out this time around. The goal is to avoid as many people as possible, adopt introvert tendencies till all of this blows over.

Try adjusting your schedule so you can during off-hours. Whether its early-early in the morning, or later in the evening, which every suits you and helps you avoid the most amount of people.

Wipe down equipment:


When you sweat, you aren’t just releasing salt and water from your system to cool down. Sweat is filled with germs, and germs are contagious. You never know who is infected and who isn’t. “Remember that anywhere from 25% to 50% of infected people may not have symptoms but can still transmit the virus” says Dr. Kesh, an infectious disease expert.

Keep disinfectant wet wipes with you to wipe down equipment pre and post use. You’d be doing yourself a massive favor and possibly someone else too. Remember to avoid equipment that you can wipe down like resistance bands and weightlifting belts.

Don’t touch your face:

Avoid touching your face when sweaty at all costs. Keeping wet wipes or a towel with you at all times is a new gym norm. Covid-19 is transmitted to the body primarily through your eyes, mouth or nose. Hence the constant campaigns we have seen telling us to thoroughly wash our hands and not to touch our face.

When your eyebrows are dripping with sweat, it is kind of irresistible to not wipe it away. You must resist this urge at all times.

Wash your hands:

The CDC recommends a through 20-second scrub with warm water and some soap. You have to wash between your fingers and under your nails. Just like in Grey’s Anatomy or Scrubs before the doctors would go in to surgery, you have to wash your hands like a pro all the way up to your wrists.

The reasons washing your hands is of the utmost importance is because germs on your hand can trickle down in your mouth while you are eating or drinking. Now that you of visualize it, gross!

These germs are responsible for things like the common flu to just a little spar with your immune system. However, now is not the time for a viral Fight Club with your immune system. You need all the strength you can muster to come out of this horrid period of recent history stronger and healthier. Wash your hands, 20 seconds with warm water and soap, just do it!

Wear a mask:


To wear a mask or not to? It is currently one of the hottest debates among fitness and health experts. When you are doing heavy lifting, your muscles are producing lactic acid. This acid not only tires you out but creates Co2.

Johanna Stellar, an expert respiratory therapist, says When your muscles burn they create lactic acid and the lactic acid turns into Co2 so that Co2 is going to increase more if you’re doing a higher level of intensity of exercise,”. At the same time she advises gym-goers to wear a mask as the first line of defense for yourself and others.

Confused? Let’s water it down a bit more. See, wearing a mask has both its pros and cons. The cons are that you are breathing in excess Co2 that can cause you to feel lightheaded and dizzy. The pros are that it is you greatest defense against catching Covid-19.

Majority of gyms are asking individuals to wear masks, in Dubai it’s one of the protocols you have to follow. Wearing a cloth mask is more suitable than wearing a respirator to the gym. Respirators would keep the Co2 inside for a longer period of time and this can be harmful in the long run. Cloth masks don’t have this issue.

If during your workouts you feel that you are gasping for air, then just pause for a second. Let your breathing return to normal and Co2 particles to disperse through the mask and you’re good to go. Wearing a mask is not only recommended, it is an essential for those going back to the gym.

Squat Wolf has recently engineered the perfect 4-layered mask just for this purpose. The mask is made with Polygiene ® ViralOff ®. A technology that can help reduce infectious airborne particles by 99%. This is a game changer because not only is it efficient, it helps you breathe easy.

The mask is further equipped with a PM2.5 filter, a five layered filter for added protection. These masks are durable and reusable, they are long lasting as well.

Consider the mask as a guardian against Covid-19 for fitness enthusiasts. Another gym essential to make your homecoming all the more perfect.

Read more: How To Get Fit At Home During Quarantine 

Going Back To The Gym – Lifting 101

Start off slow and steady


Your body has been in rest for the past couple of months. You’ve probably felt your muscles tighten and feel less powerful as they used to. When going back to the gym, do not lift at the same level or intensity as you were before this horrendous pandemic closed everything down. You’ll have to be a bit patient in order to avoid injury.

Just like your body builds strength over a period of working out, your body also loses strength after long breaks. Overdoing it in the first couple of sessions can lead to a longer recovery period. Your muscle memory will help you recover your gains but not overnight. Don’t consider it as starting from ground zero but as an essential warm-up your body needs. 

So, the aim is to start off slowly. Then, transition back to your vigorous and tiring workouts.

Start With Flexibility Workouts


 The first week back in to the gym should be all about loosening up your tightly wound muscles. Flexibility workouts help increase blood flow and circulation. At this stage, you might feel stiffness in your joints. This is just your body jump starting again.

Stretching and cardio are optimal ways to start this process. Try not to overdo cardio as it gets you huffing and panting and this is something you should avoid with a mask on. A brisk walk or jog on the treadmill is more than enough to get your body back in order. At this stage you can also do a mix workout routine that doesn’t focus on just one muscle group. 

Continue Strength Training


The second week back is your actual return. At this stage, you still won’t be lifting at your heaviest but you are getting there. Your back muscles which support a lot of your muscle groups might feel a bit rusty at this time. This due to long periods of sitting idle at home. If you are planning to hit the gym in the coming weeks you should do back workouts at home to revitalize your back muscles before your gym homecoming.

You can continue with your favorite fitness regimes to build strength or follow one of our numerous guides to help accelerate this process.

Where are gyms open?

Gyms and fitness centers around the world are slowly coming back in to operation. In our hometown, Dubai, gyms opened in the start of June. The conditions were that everyone had to wear a mask at all times and sessions were limited to only 60 minutes.

Each country has set up similar protocols. Dubai gyms are also not allowed to entertain anyone above the age of 60 or below the age of 12. Yet, people were still ecstatic going back to the gym. New Zealand, Australia and Japan have also eased restrictions much earlier than other parts of the world.

Europe was hit the hardest during this pandemic, Europeans might have to wait a bit more before going back to the gym. Norway, Finland, Cyprus and The U.K are countries where gyms are now re-opening. Also, more and more states in U.S.A are starting to open their fitness centers. 

The world is slowly transitioning back to a new normal, a life with masks, social distancing and a lot of hand sanitizer.

A report from Norway

There is also a report coming out of Norway about an experiment. In the experiment, 1,896 people were allowed to go back to the gym. They had to follow certain health precautions. The purpose of the study was to see if gym-goers were more like to catch Covid-19.

However, two weeks in the experiment and there was only one case detected. But, that one individual hadn’t visited the gym and there was no chance of infection to other participants. This report shows a positive outlook at what scientists deemed a viral hotspot because of the sweat and amount of germs in the atmosphere.

Before other countries can bank on this study alone, there are two reasons for its high success. One, the report is yet to be peer-reviewed. Second, Oslo’s infection rate is considerably low as compared to the rest of the world.

Going back to the gym is definitely on the cards for most of the world, hopefully, by the end of this year. Gyms are coming up with innovative ideas to follow public health and safety protocols. Inspire Fitness, a studio from California, built their own workout pods.

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