This hasn’t been an easy year for anyone. School hasn’t been any easier. While both students and faculty were left guessing during this unpredictable school year, everyone had to ultimately return on-campus to endure a different kind of school year. Whether it’s through a night of self-care, taking a stroll around campus, or making arts and crafts, most students have their own unique ways of dealing with the excessive stress that has accompanied this academic year. Every students’ is unique, but there is a popular, potentially infamous, method that has been scientifically proven to help manage and alleviate stress: exercise! Here at Ball State University, all gym facilities on campus are currently open; however, all face some type of restriction such as requirements of a face mask and limitations on the room capacity.
Unfortunately, and rightfully, some students may be fearful of using the available facilities because of the pandemic. Who wants to touch equipment that a sweaty person just used? Here are some tips and precautions for you to workout safely at Ball State University.
Whether you’re finding out through a friend, frequent gym visitors, or by personal experience, look into when your gym of choice is the least busy. Typically, a gym is busy from around 8 to 10 am and from 4 to 7 pm. This can slightly differ within a college setting, so get a feel for when your gym is least congested! You may find better luck using the gym located at your dorm rather than hiking to Ball State’s Recreations Center.
Employees and faculty are responsible for cleaning down the equipment at the end of the day, but a handful of resources are still offered to aid in consistently keeping the areas and equipment clean. These resources include disinfectant spray bottles, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. USA Today says, “The CDC also recommends that you make sure all equipment and machines have been thoroughly disinfected and sanitized before you use it (you can do this yourself with disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol).” Be considerate and utilize these items before and after using equipment! Want to be even more cautious? Bring your own cleaning equipment such as hand sanitizer, a sweat towel, and/or wipes. Coming prepared with other supplies like a clean, reusable water bottle will help you avoid using public water fountains that could be housing who knows what kind of bacteria.
The final tip is obvious but not often practiced: social distance! Follow the CDC’s recommendation of staying at least 6-8 feet away from others. USA Today adds, “If others are breathing heavily, it's best to be at least 12 feet away.” Planning on using a treadmill? Use one that is at least two or three treadmills away from any other treadmill users. Social distancing sadly also means goodbye group fitness classes. On the bright side, you may be lucky enough to find a few classes that do offer limited spaces. “Some studies have shown that infections can spread faster in high-intensity fitness dance classes with more than 20 participants. Classes for pilates and yoga with less than 10 participants had no spread of illness,” explains USA Today. Outdoor and virtual classes are a great alternative to group classes! The FitOn mobile app is a personal favorite of mine.
At the end of the day, don’t let this pandemic allow you to not feel your best, and don’t let it get in the way of self-improvement and maintaining your mental and physical well being. You show it to who's boss. Gyms will never be the same after COVID, but exercising is and will always be a great, healthy outlet--especially during times like these. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to exercise or receive the self-care you need; don't ever feel like you have to hit the gym to be your best. You do it all for you!