Now that gyms are open how safe is it to go? Spectrum News spoke with a local infectious disease specialist about how you can keep yourself safe at the gym.

What You Need To Know

  • Gyms were allowed to open in New York state on Monday, August 24

  • Dr. Oladipo Alao says by avoiding indoor group fitness classes, staying six feet or more away from others, and wiping down machines and equipment before and after you use it, you can stop the spread of COVID-19

  • Governor Cuomo mandated that gyms could open if they limited capacity to 33 percent, require masks at all times, and facilitate social distancing

"I think that each individual has to assess their risk, and it's not safe for everyone, but it may be safe for some people," said Dr. Oladipo Alao, an infectious disease specialist at Crystal Run Healthcare.

According to Alao, if you or a relative are immuno-compromised, you should avoid the gym entirely. He says the risk of contracting COVID-19 during a trip to the gym also depends on how many cases your area has seen in recent weeks.

"The higher the burden of disease, the more the likelihood that you're going to come in contact across someone that has the disease," said Alao.

He says Governor Cuomo's guidelines, like keeping capacity at 33 percent, will help keep people safe, but he says there are other things you can do to prevent getting sick.

"The first thing they can do is keep a safe distance from other gym-goers," said Alao. "The recommendations are that you keep a distance of six feet or more."

And you might want to avoid group fitness classes for a while.

"There was a study that came out of South Korea that showed that certain types of exercises may be more risky than others; for instance this study looked at dance instruction and because of dance instruction, there's a lot of vigorous air movement, you're going to be breathing heavier, so you are more likely to produce more viral particles," said Alao.

Alao also says you should be vigilant about wiping down equipment before and after you use it, since the virus can be spread through contact with droplets on surfaces.

"The key is really the ventilation, because really the more ventilation you have, the less likely it is the virus will be transmitted," said Alao. "So for instance, larger gyms that have more space and are able to space out participants, are less likely to have transmission of virus compared with smaller gyms."

Alao also says do your homework when picking a gym.

"I would be on the lookout for a gym that you see evidence that there is regular cleaning going on, and you may also want to look at the employees make sure they are wearing masks, that they themselves are obeying the guidelines. These are some clues that give you a sense of how serious that gym is taking precautions," said Alao.