As we approach the prospect of re-opening after the coronavirus quarantine, the highest practices and standards must be implemented to ensure the health and safety of our members, staff and community. As fitness professionals, our passion and commitment is to build the health and fitness of our community and our response to the Covid-19 epidemic reflects that commitment.
Several factors become apparent as we reopen our doors:
• we will not be going back to a “business as usual” model
• we must be intentional and methodological in minimizing the risk and stopping the spread of the virus
• fitness, health and wellness should be considered an essential service in the fight against this disease. It has been clear that there is an inordinate impact on vulnerable (unhealthy) populations
• the isolating effects of social distancing has shown us the value of the community and belonging members find in our fitness business.
To that end, we will adhere to the following best practices, standards and recommendations for fitness operations in our community:
Spacing and capacity limitations
- We will have a minimum of 100 sq ft per participant. This will limit the number attending classes and/or admitted to the facility at any given time
- Members will enter the building through a 12×12 garage door on the west side of the building and will contact any door handles.
- We will have a 10×10’ area for each member and limit movement and interaction to that area.
- We will spread out our class times to allow for a 30 min transition in between classes. This would ensure the previous class has left before the next class enters the building as well as allowing extra time for sanitation of equipment and commonly touched fixtures in the building. (Members will not be exchanging the equipment. Coaches will switch out equipment if needed).
- Kids room will remain closed.
1. Exercise and workout design will eliminate sharing of equipment
2. Members will be provided a specific area (workout zone) and equipment for their exclusive use for the duration of their workout
3. Each workout zone will have its own equipment for that space. Members will not go get equipment. If more equipment is needed, the coach will exchange it for them.
4. Workout duration will be adjusted to accommodate time before and after to disinfect the equipment (see item 3, below)
5. Schedules will be adjusted as to minimize traffic and congestion before and after class.
Sanitizing and Disinfecting
1. Members will be required to sanitize hands upon entry.
2. Each workout zone will have appropriate disinfecting materials (eg, spray, cloth, wipes, etc) so the member can disinfect prior to and after their sessions
3. Members will be trained in proper equipment disinfecting (towels will be changed out after each class.)
4. As a regular practice in the gym, members shall be encouraged to practice hygiene standards as defined by CDC guidelines
5. Coaches will sanitize commonly touched fixtures in between each class.
Member and Trainer Considerations
1. Members and trainers will be required to stay at home if they show any signs or symptoms
2. Members will be contacted immediately if it becomes known that a member or trainer has tested positive for Covid-19
3. The gym will keep a temporal thermometer available to check members by request or if there is a question of contagion.
4. Facilities will have masks or similar available for trainers at all times.
5. Members must reserve spots in pre-assigned classes/time slots ahead of time using the software systems in place by the business.
Benefits of Physical Exercise – specifically in supervised group setting
- Supervision and instruction of a professional coach provides the best results with smallest risk of injury
- Programming, exercise selection, duration and frequency are designed and tailored to individuals and administered in a controlled manner that is more difficult to replicate online, at home, or remotely
- Gyms provide access to equipment that most people do not have (very difficult to find stock right now due to panic purchases since early March 2020)
- Medical research findings strongly support that regular exercise can prevent or at least reduce the severity of ARDS which affects up to 85% of patients admitted to ICU units.
- Severe ARDS is fatal in approximately 45% of patients who experience it.
- Mental benefits of exercise are improved mood and outlook, ability to handle stress, cognitive function improvement, and reduction of depressive symptoms.
- Social Isolation is linked to increases in obesity and Type 2 Diabetes – these are significant underlying conditions that are largely lifestyle related and directly combatted by regular exercise.
- People stuck at home with no ability to exercise are more at risk for severe cases of COVID-19 than those who are able to safely workout.
- Some people who engage in regular fitness regimen are recovered drug or alcohol abusers and rely on the consistent ability to exercise in order to remain in recovery.
- Another large population of members are Active Duty Military or Veterans, Police officers.Fire Fighters, EMS workers – all of which either need fitness to perform their daily duties. Many in this population deal with different forms of PTSD, for which regular exercise is extremely effective at treating.
- Regular physical exercise is a significant immune system booster and it is well documented that more fit people who have a generally nutritious diet are significantly less likely to have a fatal encounter with COVID-19 (or any other common illness)
- Almost 90% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 have underlying conditions. The most prevalent comorbidities to COVID-19 are lifestyle related issues
Top 4: (Different orders of prevalence depending on data source, but these are clearly the most influential)
i. High Blood pressure
ii. Chronic Lung Disease (Smoking)
iii. High Blood Sugar
iv. High Body-Mass Index (Obesity)
These co-morbidities are directly tied to a) Lack of exercise and b) Nutritional and/or environmental choices that are directly addressed in the CrossFit gym model.
Regular exercise, supervised and designed by a professional and performed by willing participants is the best preventative measure people can take to prepare their bodies to resist
and survive a viral attack. The support of nutritional habits as well as reduction of stress- induced participation in destructive vices (smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse) is significant and beneficial. Stronger, more active people are less likely to suffer a significant case of COVID-19 and the businesses that support that should be considered essential and requested to resume operations within approved guidelines from local health departments.