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Leisure facilities have been working their socks off to create a safe environment, but it's understandable that some customers may still be worried about COVID infection. It is therefore critical to recognise the myths regarding exercise and COVID-19, to understand how leisure venues have adapted to keep you safe, and to know what you can do to help safeguard your health.
Although the COVID-19 virus can stay on some surfaces for up to two or three days, it's important to remember that these surfaces are easily cleaned with common household disinfectants (which kill the virus). All venues have drastically stepped up their cleaning protocols during the pandemic.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through sweat.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is more transmittable in a hot, humid environment than any other. The best way to protect yourself against the virus is through social distancing and frequent handwashing, and the use of anti-viral/bacterial hand gels.
As long as all touch points are cleaned before and after use, water fountains are safe.
People should NOT wear masks while exercising, as these may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. Sweating can make a mask become wet, which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. The most important preventative measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance from others.
Although gloves are useful in some circumstances, in a leisure facility using hand sanitiser and wiping down equipment before and after use is more appropriate.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water, hot tubs or spas.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised that the risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus is extremely low.
Gyms have made great efforts to make their venues safe to use, including implementing new cleaning regimes and social distancing.
Your leisure venue will likely look and feel a little different on your first visit.
There are ways you can help keep yourself and others safe at the gym.
Always follow the Government's guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing – see gov.uk/coronavirus for more information and the latest updates.
As a Register of Exercise Professionals-accredited training provider, Nicola consults for leading health and fitness brands and regularly contributes to press publications.
Find out more about Healthspan's health experts.
Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.