Gyms and fitness centers hold an important role in promoting all-round wellness, but they are also a significant vector for infectious diseases. As a noted CDC report highlights, it is exceptionally easy to spread diseases in gym settings, due to high levels of aerosols, shared fitness equipment, and the simple matter that exercise encourages sweating. In the age of COVID, it has become more important than ever that modern fitness outlets take every step they can to ensure that they, and their members, uphold a high level of hygiene. There are a few key steps to be taken in pursuit of this, and the first is relatively straightforward – cleaning.
Keeping it clean
Viruses, bacteria and bugs are absolutely prevalent in gyms. An influential 2016 study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public health found that 25 different species of virus and bacteria are commonly found in gyms, and most frequently skin-to-surface areas – such as training machine handles, weights, and floor mats. Furthermore, the study conclusively found that individuals vulnerable to infection run a higher risk of falling ill in the gym environment. The most effective prevention first comes in fitness center cleaning. Gym and fitness center owners need a proper hygiene plan, with frequent high-quality cleaning, to ensure sanitation. Secondly, gym goers need to do more to ensure that they keep equipment well-cleaned throughout the day.
Improving gym goer awareness
Gym goers have a key role to play in keeping equipment clean. The owner can do everything in their power to regularly clean surfaces, but the way gyms work means there is always going to be handover between one person and the next, and the potential for spreading viruses there. A study published by Eureka mag shows how to take a modern approach to this. According to the study, cleaning rates were highest underneath signs requesting it, and when materials were accessible. Providing cleaning materials, and providing clear signage to engage, is important. Many gyms have their own all-in-one fitness apps that help users to track workouts – considering including reminders to clean equipment at the end of a set.
The importance of ventilation
In addition to surface cleaning, there is a lot of value to be derived from air scrubbing and ventilation. According to a journal published by Eureka mag, a combination of proper ventilation and air filtration, for instance via a Dyson or HVAC system, reduced aerosol concentrations by between 80 and 90%. Ventilation was by far the most effective of the two methods, too, with filtration mopping up what’s left. Consider that when designing the layout of a gym or fitness center – prioritize outdoor air flow.
In many ways, the most modern way of managing gym hygiene is by making use of modern communication tools. Keep customers up to date, actively encourage them to be hygienic, and provide a light and airy experience inside the building. Together, this can do a lot of work in stopping infection spreading