GYMS, DESPITE BEING A SPACE DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO HUMAN EXERTION, ARE STILL RELATIVELY HYGIENIC AS LONG AS YOU TAKE BASIC SANITARY MEASURES.
AS LONG AS YOU’RE HYGIENIC, THE IRON PARADISE IS STILL VERY MUCH OPEN FOR NOW.
Over the weekend, following a bout of post-The Dawn Wall, post-Free Solo psychosis, I bought a membership at my local climbing gym and proceeded to visit the establishment three times in three days. By the end of it, my arms were physically exhausted to the point where it felt like the only relief would come through lopping them off with a chainsaw, but right now it seems that my very sore biceps probably should have been the least of my worries.
The last 3 or 4 days, during which it seems as if the Coronavirus crisis in Australia has gone from an external threat to a very localised danger, have created probably the largest amount of social panic seen in Australia this century. All of a sudden, it feels not quite like a risk to walk out your front door, but certainly iffy to go into just about any moderately crowded area, whether that be an office block, a market, or a shopping centre.
But a key topic of debate in particular also seems to be whether or not you should still aim to get a sweat on.
As far as gyms go, the whirlwind of airborne sweat, dust and exertion you get in a climbing gym right now is probably the least sanitary environment I could have put myself into, unless my research later tells me that chalk dust somehow kills the COVID-19 virus (it doesn’t). But it makes me feel good, and like I’m still being active. And for the rest of us, according to the experts, the average gym is still a space that you should feel fairly confident inhabiting. As long as you’re careful.
Doctors overnight told the ABC that gyms, despite being a space devoted entirely to human exertion, are still relatively hygienic as long as you take basic sanitary measures.
“I think the gym is fine, but everybody needs to practice good hygiene,” said physician and journalist Dr Norman Swan in an interview with ABC Radio. “If you’re going to the gym, I would be very focused on hand washing using hand sanitisers. All of those social distancing and good hygiene measures,”
“We want everybody in the community to start practising those and to start thinking about how we will practice social distancing moving forward.”
Most gyms that I’ve personally seen on social media also seem to be ramping up their sanitary efforts in an effort to maintain a clean environment for their members, hiring extra cleaners to keep spaces like bathrooms and change rooms clean.
“[The outbreak] doesn’t mean you stop going to the gym, but it means you’ve got to be super careful in the gym. So you’re going to wipe [things] down [there] with an alcohol hand sanitiser,” Swan continued, also noting that it may be prudent to steer clear of the steam room for now.
In the meantime though, considering the mental and physical benefits of maintaining a steady routine, hitting the gym will still probably do you more good than harm.