Many states will soon allow gyms and fitness centers to reopen. As you try to get back to a healthy routine, should you go back to your gym or continue to find other ways to exercise?

Going to a gym, or any public place, will have some risk. It all comes down to how much risk you want to take. If you are a 65-year-old obese man with diabetes, your risk preference might be very different than it would be for a 22-year-old woman with no medical problems.

You’ll have to decide whether the benefits of going to the gym will outweigh the possibility of catching the virus or spreading it to others.

As gyms and fitness centers reopen, facilities will have to take steps to protect people exercising there. Here are some changes we might see.

  • Employees and personal trainers wearing masks
  • Staff cleaning the equipment throughout the day
  • Modified operating hours, including “intermission” hours for staff to do a full gym cleaning
  • Contactless check-ins
  • Machines, weights and other equipment spaced 6 to 8 feet apart
  • Limited numbers of people in the gym at one time
  • Spas and saunas inside the gym remaining closed
  • Gyms with open windows and doors and fans to circulate air
  • Pre-workout temperature checks
  • Even asking members to sign coronavirus waivers of liability

If you’re concerned about COVID-19 but want to return to the gym, find out their plans to decrease spread of the virus.

Even if gyms take all the precautions they can, you should still do what you can to decrease your risk of catching this coronavirus. Here are some steps to consider.

  • Wipe down every dumbbell, barbell, machine and piece of cardio equipment with a disinfectant before you use it and after your done with it, even if the person who used it before you looks totally fine.
  • Try to go at an off hour when it’s likely to be less crowded, like early morning, late morning, or later in the evening.
  • Work out by yourself and not with a friend or trainer.  Or at the very least, stay six feet apart from each other.
  • And think about wearing a mask, even though it could be more difficult to exercise comfortably.

Just as gyms will have to adhere to guidelines for safely reopening, fitness centers will have to adapt as well. Here are some changes you might see in your boot camps and group exercise classes.

  • Significantly reduced class sizes with plenty of space between members
  • Instructors wearing masks, as they’re speaking in loud voices and potentially spreading the virus in the air
  • Classes held outside, where it’s much easier to socially distance and viral particles disperse very quickly

If you are tired of working out in your living room and want to get back to the gym, take steps to decrease your risk of COVID-19.