Now that Gov. Jared Polis has issued new guidance for gyms and swimming pools to reopen to limited capacities in Colorado , returning to a regular workout routine in these spaces looks much different than it did before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The updated state’s public health guidelines require gyms, fitness classes, recreation centers and other indoor sports facilities to operate at up to 25% capacity or 50 people per room — whichever number is fewer — as long as members can remain 6 feet apart. Outdoor swimming pools can open to 50% capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.
Last week, I returned to teaching in-person classes once a week at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa. My first class back was at max capacity with 13 people participating and maintaining 6 feet between individuals throughout the class. It felt great to teach in a live setting again and I’m so grateful to those who attended my class.
I’ll be honest, I’ve had mixed feelings about entering the gym atmosphere while we’re still facing a pandemic. As eager as I am to get back to what used to be my normal class schedule, I’m also a bit nervous that reopening too soon could push us into another state lockdown.
So when returning to your favorite fitness facility, let’s all abide by the social distancing guidelines that have been put into action. My top priority always will be to ensure the health and safety of all participants.
It may seem like common sense, but please be kind and respectful to all fitness professionals and to those around you. We know how important it is to have a place to go to escape the stresses of everyday life, burn calories and strengthen the body. While certain services may be limited to a certain number of people, we’re here to motivate and encourage you to improve your overall wellness.
Familiarize yourself with your facility’s new guidelines. The protocols may be slightly different between each business. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to head back to the gym:
If you are sick or if you’re feeling like you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay home. Even though you may feel fine to work out, you could be contagious and inadvertently pass your illness on to others.
Carefully read all signage and ask gym employees for clarification if something seems confusing.
Visit your facility’s website regularly or download their app. Most likely you’ll be required to register for group fitness classes using these platforms since class sizes are limited.
Maintain 6 feet of social distancing — especially while working out.
Wipe down all equipment before and after use. Touch only the equipment that you will be using.
Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Wear a face covering or mask when you talk with others. You won’t be expected to wear a mask as you work out. But again, respect the social distancing protocols.
Try to avoid congregating before or after fitness classes or around locker rooms.
Be patient. These guidelines are new to all of us and are in place to keep us safe.
Stephanie Swearngin is a group fitness instructor at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa in Colorado Springs.