Houstonians are weighing concerns as gyms prepare to reopen Monday

HOUSTON – Gyms and fitness centers are preparing to reopen on Monday but a lot of Houstonians are wondering if they should stay away a little longer or go and get back into their old fitness routine? If you’ve been sweating it out at home over the past couple of months a sports medicine expert says you may want to stay the course.

"Probably not the best idea if you can get by at home," says Dr. Rand McClain, a sports medicine physician. "You're definitely increasing your risk, there's no two ways about it."

But the gyms will be reopening — required to cap attendance at 25% occupancy. And let’s face it, a lot of people want to resume exercise with their workout buddies in person. Dr. McClain says the first step is ensuring your gym has plans to protect you.

"Make sure your gym is doing the best it can to clean. Certainly nightly, but maybe even hourly," McClain said. "Clean down as much as they can clean down."

And there also is of course personal responsibility. McClain and other experts say gloves and masks being required by the state can be effective even if they’re not comfortable or practical. Also, bringing your own water and hand sanitizer are good ideas. Locker rooms will be required to stay closed but restrooms will not.

One important piece of advice the doctor added: don't go full throttle on Monday.

"Get your rest. Keep your immune system healthy," McClain advised. "Don't go for personal bests right now, don't overtrain, don't try to and lose that 30 pounds. Because all those things will strain your immune system."

The doctor also advises as soon as you get home, wash the clothes you worked out in, shower as quickly as possible, and even go back to your car to disinfect the seat you were sitting in on the way home in those sweaty clothes. You don’t want to derail your return to fitness by getting sick.

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