Don’t sweat it: Gyms are relatively safe during coronavirus outbreak, experts say

GoodLife Fitness — which has more than 300 gyms across Canada — sent an email to members on Monday outlining the steps they’re taking to keep their spaces clean during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among them was the addition of hospital-grade cleaning solutions and advising members to “regularly wash their hands using soap and water,” per the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

GoodLife isn’t alone — several gyms have sent similar notices. For avid gym-goers, statements like these might present more questions than answers: Is it safe to go to the gym? How clean are the weights, mats and other equipment? Should I suspend my membership and opt for at-home workouts instead?

However, experts say such notices aren’t reason to panic.

“I suspect that the main motivation for the gym would be simply to reassure people,” said Colin Furness, assistant professor at the institute for health policy management and evaluation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Often hot and damp, gyms make the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

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