Returning to the Gym

Here in on the east side of the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario Canada, we are moving into stage 3 of reopening tomorrow. What this means “Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g., gyms, fitness studios)” are allowed to open. This includes my local gym, the Durham YMCA.

The following stipulations are in place by the provincial government:

  • Physical distancing must be maintained, except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training.
  • The total number of people permitted in areas containing weights or exercise machines is limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres, which cannot exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 people.
  • The total number people permitted in classes or organized activities at any one time is limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres, and cannot exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 people or the outdoor limit of 100.
  • Assigned spaces are strongly recommended for organized fitness classes (e.g., by marking circles on the floor to designate where each person should exercise).
  • Gathering limits do not apply in all other areas (e.g., pools, tennis courts and rinks).
  • Equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between user sets or at the end of a game.
  • Any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.

I have some concerns about this. Our “Plus” change room is fairly small to accommodate the extra features we pay for. There is going to be very little room to social distance.

Our additional features include the steam room and the hot tub. I’m figuring since the steam room is unavailable then so is the hot tub. But what about the pool? I guess since there are no aqua-fit classes they just allow free swim? How is that safe? Since I walk my laps in the pool instead of swimming, should I be wearing a mask?

How are they planning on running an Arriba class? The Wednesday & Thursday classes where in a half gym & there was usually 50 people in that space. Triple that in the full gym on Saturday mornings. There is no way to social distance that many people. And given the distance we move during class, we’d likely only have room for maybe 25 people so as to stay out of everyone else’s breathing space. I don’t want to be dancing in the residual saliva in the air from when the person beside me is breathing hard from exercise.

I also noticed no yoga classes. I understand not being able to run a yoga class using one of the studios due to size, but why not a class in the gymnasium. Yes, a little louder & a little brighter, but an evening class would help that.

Social distancing in the showers? There only 5-6 showers total in the Plus section.

Now, almost all the features of a plus membership restricted which includes Steam Room, Hot Tub, Private Showers, Peace and Quiet-no kids, Lounging Area, Personal Hygiene Products & Towel Service. Without most of this, do you think we’d get a price break until it opens back up? Good God no. In fact, they cancelled the pilot program I was in so my membership is going to go up by about $20

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I am comfortable going back to the gym quite yet. Being at higher risk makes me hesitate, especially when new cases reported are climbing back up towards 200.

What are your thoughts on going back to the gym?

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