After a gap of more than four months, Indian Gyms have been allowed to start their operations across the nation. The decision which had come during the first week of August had directed all Indian Gyms to start their operations, subject to strict adherence to guidelines and SOPs. The announcement had brought in some cheer to the already stressed faces of gym owners and associated folks, as now they can get back to business after a period of more than 4 months of closure by putting in all the preventive measures in place. With the re-opening of gyms followed by all the necessary preventive measures put in place by gym owners, there continue to be mixed responses coming in from gym-goers, as many are still not ready to hit the gym again. To understand what they have been thinking, we had an exclusive talk with some of the regular gym-goers from different parts of India. To comprehend what opinions people have about the re-opening of gyms, let’s read what our interviewees viz. Kumar Pallav from Katihar (Bihar), Priyanka Mandal from Silliguri (W.B), Inder Kumar from Delhi and Arunabh Medhi from Guwahati had to say about all of this. Let’s read more about what our fitness millennials had to say about the initiatives taken up by their governments.
How do you see the re-opening of the gyms? What are the expectations that you have with your gym management?
Sparking mixed reactions over the re-opening of the gyms, fitness enthusiasts from different parts of the country have been sharing different notions. Some find the announcement to be quite significant, especially for those persons who have been waiting to break their monotonous lifestyle, while others have been thinking that this could lead to increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on record. Highlighting how opening of gyms can be risky, Pallav Says, “Opening of gyms can be risky. It is because of the nature of this virus.
COVID-19 virus is not air-borne, but spreads through the fluid droplets released by the human mouth/nose while sneezing and coughing. Since we know what the exhalation rate is at the time of performing workout and it will not be advisable to wear masks during workouts.”
Adding more about the risk, he comments that, “Probably there is no case of virus transfer through sweat. So, it will be a place that may be riskier than a normal outside area. The Gym management may have a tough task ahead, but they have to follow proper sterilization SOP for the gym equipment, not just by using sanitizers, but through many other effective ways. The other thing can be the crowd control and screening process.
While expressing his surprise, Inder says, “Initially I assumed that there will be a smaller number of people who would be coming to the gym, but no I was wrong, as I can see people are coming in bulk even during the period of pandemic. It seems that everyone wants to be fit after a four and a half months gap. Many people have gained so much weight and have missed to keep a track of their personal fitness. The people are not much concerned about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Sharing his response over the reopening of gym, Arunabh says, “The reopening of gyms is a very good initiative taken by the government, since we have to keep ourselves fit and strong, so that our immunity can improve during this period, in order to avert all kinds of diseases and of course fighting corona with our immune system.” Highlighting what have been his expectations from his gym management, he goes on to add, “Expectations that I had kept with my gym management had been up to the mark. They had kept separate staff for the purpose of sanitizing all the gym equipment on an hourly basis, apart from placing members at the entrance of the gym in order to take your temperature and pulse using an oximeter. Additionally, all the trainers have been good enough to ensure adherence to social distancing norms and help you accordingly. They have also installed sanitization points at almost every place in the gym.”
Expressing happiness over the re-opening of the gym, Priyanka states, “I think it was a good decision to re-open the gym, as people were so much trapped in their house without any fitness goals to attain. Gyms give you all necessary reasons to be fit, so I think now, people can break the boredom that they have been experiencing over the past several months.”
What personal preventive measures are you going to follow before going to your gym?
As the gym floor can be a breeding ground for the COVID-19 virus, it can affect anyone who is not following basic guidelines in the gym that includes sanitizing everything before touching anything and wearing a mask. Keeping everything personalized will be the key to keeping yourself away from this highly infective virus. Arunabh applies the same while heading to the gym. Moreover, he says “I wear a new pair of gym clothes every time I hit the gym and also wear a mask when I’m near someone and at the time of taking help from a fellow mate. I carry my own hand towel and water and maintain social distancing, apart from sanitizing my hands after using a machine.”
Talking more about what to do, Pallav states, “Don’t spend much time in the gym and perform workouts for only those steps which you cannot perform at home. This can be a possible way of avoiding spending too much time in the gym. The 2nd thing is about your personal safety, wherein, it is necessary to wipe-out things with a sanitizer before using them.”
While highlighting practical issues with the masks in the gym, Inder states, “It is hard for anyone to do cardio or lift the heavy weight by wearing a face mask, as ultimately it can lead to respiratory issues. In fact, nobody wants to wear them in the gym. While talking about heavyweight exercise, he said, “while lifting heavyweight, one needs someone to aid him to complete the set, but now in order to maintain social distancing, the act of bonhomie would not be possible.”
Putting more thrust over her safety measures, Priyanka says, “I will sanitize myself before entering the gym, wear gloves and face mask. Besides, I will take up other measures in order to abort the spread of COVID-19 virus”.
Please share what are the things that your gym follows to abort the spread of Coronavirus?
Insisting on the UV Sterilization of the gym equipment and gym accessories, Pallav provides his inputs and suggestions, “Gym management can prevent the spread of viruses only by proper crowd management and sterilizing the area after every session. Using Sodium Hypochlorite and sanitizers won’t be that effective. The only effective way is UV sterilization.”
Appreciating the management of the gym, Arunabh states, “Everything that my gym persons are doing is great and they maintain a lot of protocols. You need to change your shoes before-hand in a different floor and then you can enter the dressing room. They have changed the exit door and also record every detail of the person visiting their gym. The management team has shifted all the machines to a minimum of 6 feet or 2 meters. They have closed the steam room and have put up signs throughout the gym as a part of the safety protocols.”
While showing his reluctance to hit the gym again, Inder concludes by saying, “Panting is a natural thing to do while doing workout and you can’t ignore the current scenario, which is considered to be highly dangerous when you do a workout in a congested space with little chance to maintain social distancing. Seeing such limitations in my gym, I have stopped going to my gym.”
Whereas Priyanka finds trainers to be quite significant, amid the re-opening of gyms and also highlights, “Gym Trainers should provide proper diet chart to their clients and incorporate lightweight to heavyweight workout set by maintaining proper safety.”