3 things to consider as you return to your gym after COVID-19

3 things to consider as you return to your gym after COVID-19

As the country slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments are slowly opening up businesses again.

Gyms were severely affected during the partial lockdown and quarantine period and if you are a regular at the gym, you probably felt the void.

Across the country, gyms are opening up again.

What does that mean for you and your fitness?

In this post, we’ll go over 5 considerations you should make as you return to your gym.

3 things to consider as you return to your gym after COVID-19

Safety first

Although the number of new cases and deaths have reduced, SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is still around.

With all their best efforts, researchers still have not come up with a vaccine for COVID-19. This means there is no way to prevent the disease caused by the virus. And when you get the disease associated with it, there is currently no cure. Doctors and nurses simply provide supportive care until the virus “passes”.

SARS-Cov-2 is highly contagious.

Thus it is more important than ever that you continue to be safe as you return to the gym.

Here are tips on how to do that.

    • Wipe down equipment thoroughly with disinfectant wipes before you use anything.
    • Clean your hands with sanitizer once you are done working out. Gyms may provide both disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers but we recommend carrying your own as a back-up.
    • Wearing a mask or face covering has been a CDC recommendation since April 2020. However, working out with a mask on is not advisable as this reduces how much oxygen you are breathing in as you exercise.
    • As soon as you arrive home from the gym, take a shower.
    • Launder your gym clothes as much as possible throughout the week. You may have been able to get away with washing your gym clothes once a week in the past (wink!). In the current environment however, it is best to wash them throughout the week to prevent the spread.
    • Keep your gym “stuff” in a dedicated area and away from family.
    • Continue to use social distancing rules while you are at the gym.

Ease your way back into your routine

Don’t let your enthusiasm of getting back to the gym get you injured!

You haven’t used certain equipment or muscle groups in over three months.

It’s important to ease your way back into your gym exercise routine so that you don’t injure yourself.

If you need to work with a personal trainer for those few initial first weeks when you return to the gym, please do so.

It’s okay to not return to the gym until you’re comfortable

If you’re not comfortable going back to the gym even after your favorite gym reopens, that is alright.

The global pandemic has been traumatic for people around the world.

You may have even had loved ones who were affected by COVID-19. It is alright to take a step back and continue “non-gym” workout routines that are helping you meet your fitness goals.

You may find that some of your gyms offer virtual workout sessions.

This is an excellent alternative to going to a physical gym. Take advantage of these as well.

As the world opens up again and gyms open up, everyone has a choice to make. Our recommendation is to err on the side of safety.

12 Benefits of Strength Training

12 Benefits of Strength Training

Before we even delve into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about what strength training is.

Not all exercises are created equal.

Cardio exercises are exercises that usually involve you moving your whole body like running, walking, swimming or riding a bicycle.

This burns calories and everyone needs it. In fact, researchers recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise per week.

Strength training on the other hand works on a muscle group in your body is just as important as cardio exercise. Every time you perform a sit up, lift weights or do lunges, you are strength training.

The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week. 

12 benefits of strength training:

Lower belly fat

Because strength training targets a muscle group, you can work on specific muscle groups. If you would like to lose belly fat, strength training that targets that area will help you get there.

Better heart health

Strength training also affects your heart health. Adding them into your exercise routine keeps your routines interesting and works on that all important muscle called the heart.

Controls and improves blood sugar levels

In a study of 62 adults with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that strength training improved muscle sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Insulin is the hormone in humans that allows sugar molecules to enter into the cells of the body so the cells can use it for energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, this activity of insulin is blocked or greatly reduced. This is why people with type 2 diabetes have to take insulin injections.

Therefore, by improving a person’s sensitivity to insulin, it means the cells are able to uptake the sugar the way they are supposed to.

When this happens, blood sugar levels are improved and the effects of diabetes are reduced.

Improved mental health and brain health

Have you ever finished a workout and felt incredibly good about yourself?

It’s not a coincidence. When you exercise, your body releases a brain chemical called endorphins. These endorphins interact with your brain cells to give you an overall sense of well-being.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which analyzed 33 clinical trials that involved 1877 people showed that strength training was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.

Reduced cancer risk/improved outcomes

In breast cancer survivors, researchers showed that strength training can reduce the risk of the disease coming back. The studies that found this out included more than 12,000 women.

Strength training can also help men with prostate cancer and prolong their lives as compared to those who don’t work out at all.

Pain management

While using exercise in pain management is still a newer area of research, there is some evidence that it can help to reduce pain.

Endorphin release is also known to interact with pain receptors in your brain to reduce pain.

Weight control

Need to control your weight? Strength training has long been shown to help with that as well.

Toned muscles

The generally compressive nature of strength training allows your muscles to produce more of the proteins that are involved in contracting your muscles.

This makes your muscles more taut and less flat or weak.

Stronger bones

Strength training also makes bones stronger and there is evidence that it can reduce the effects or delay the onset of osteoporosis.

The idea here is that the work you make your muscles do when you’re strength training impacts your bones. That work puts a certain amount of strain on your bone and elicits the production of more bone cells. More bone cells strengthen your bones.

Lower risk of injury

Because you are toning your muscles and strengthening your bones when you undergo strength training, you lower your risk of injury as you perform other types of exercises.

Improved joint flexibility

Strength training will improve your flexibility. With regular strength training, your joints become more flexible and can even reduce the risk of arthritis.

Longer lifespan

All of these benefits above contribute to a longer lifespan for individuals.

I highly recommend that you hire a personal trainer if you are new to strength training.

A personal trainer will guide you on the best kind of strength exercises that fit your needs.