Saadia Griffith-Howard, MD, discusses COVID-19 concerns around gym reopenings with NPR


With some gyms reopening across the country, the prospect of working out at a fitness center again has many excited. But with COVID-19 still on the rise, what do people need to consider before returning to the gym?

Saadia Griffith-Howard, MD, an infectious disease physician with the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, shared her thoughts on the topic recently in an NPR article, “My Gym Is Reopening. Is It Safe To Work Out There?”.

“You have to make your own assessment of how risky it is based on knowing your medical situation and whether you are someone who’s at high risk for an infection,” said Dr. Griffith-Howard.

She added that for people in high-risk categories, such as being over the age of 65 or having an underlying health condition like heart disease or diabetes, a return to the gym may not be worth the risk. For those who are still on the fence, Dr. Griffith-Howard recommended creating a checklist to help with the decision-making process.

“Are they taking your temperature?” she asked. “Are you seeing them regularly clean equipment? And are staff and other clients in the gym wearing a mask?”

Most state guidelines for gyms also recommend limiting capacity to prevent overcrowding and posting signs to encourage proper hygiene, among other safety precautions. In addition, Dr. Griffith-Howard said the social distancing practice of standing at least 6 feet apart should not stop once you walk through the gym doors.

Note: To read the full story, visit the NPR site.