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Reader’s Digest: How Can I Avoid COVID-19 at the Gym?

Reader’s Digest recently interviewed infectious disease specialist Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai, about lowering your risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus at the gym.

As states and cities continue to reopen, people are weighing the pros and cons of returning to their local fitness centers. When making these decisions, an individual must take into account how much risk they're willing to tolerate, according to Reader's Digest.

If a gym workout is a must-have, Ben-Aderet said, “It’s really about doing everything you can to reduce risk, knowing the risk can never be completely eliminated.”

For example, gym-goers cannot avoid germs in the locker room. As Reader’s Digest explained, dressing benches, showers, bathroom stalls, sinks and vanity areas tend to be tight quarters with poor ventilation, making them a breeding ground for germs.

“When we talk about locker rooms, we’re often talking about people who aren’t able to socially distance properly,” said Ben-Aderet. “And I doubt people will be wearing masks consistently while showering.”

Gym-goers might want to skip the locker room, sanitize their hands after finishing a workout, shower immediately after returning home and isolate their workout clothes, according to Reader's Digest.

Ben-Aderet added that wearing a mask at the gym is “superior to not wearing a mask in terms of infection control.” But if individuals don't wear a mask, social distancing is key.

If people stay at least six feet apart from others, "that’s really beyond the area a respiratory droplet can spread, so the risk is probably much lower in that case,” said Ben-Aderet.

Click here to read the complete story from Reader’s Digest.