This Is the Best Time to Go to the Gym, Experts Say

When going to work out, avoid peak hours in order to maintain contact with fewer people.

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As states start to lift lockdown orders and places begin to reopen, the threat of coronavirus is still out there. To help protect yourself, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19. When going shopping, the CDC recommends that people avoid peak times and instead "go during hours when fewer people will be there," like early in the morning or late at night. However, this advice can also be applied to a multitude of everyday activities: Here's how to use it to find the best time to go to the gym amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Most people's gym schedules are often structured around their everyday work schedule, as Roberta Sassatelli explains in her book Fitness Culture. This means peak hours are usually in the morning before the work day starts and after the work day ends, or during lunch time. DW Fitness has found that their peak hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

So, when are the off-peak hours you should be taking advantage of? Brandon Mancine, a fitness professional for 20 years, gave his insight on Quora, and said that for most gyms, off-peak hours on the weekdays are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For weekends, the off-peak hours are anytime after 11 a.m.

While these midday off-peak hours are best if you need to go to the gym during the day, the safest overall time to visit your local gym may actually be early in the morning, as soon as it opens. James Scott, owner of Dappir Clean, a commercial and residential cleaning company in Tampa, Florida, explains that "once the cleaning and disinfection is complete, surfaces get recontaminated as the day goes on." So he says the cleanest a gym will be is when it opens, after it was cleaned following closing the night before or before opening that day.

white man with face mask and gloves lifting weights at the gym
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However, even though there is less of a risk of infection when fewer people are around, you still have to remain diligent in your own practices to keep yourself safe. So no matter what time you visit the gym, Ashlee Van Buskirk, owner of fitness and nutrition coaching business Whole Intent, recommends taking various measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before starting your workout and after finishing your workout," she says. "Also fill and bring your own water bottle to the gym to avoid using drinking fountains, wear a protective mask during your workout, avoid touching your face, and wipe down gym equipment with disinfectant wipes before and after your exercises."

And if you decide you're not ready to go back to the gym just yet, you're not alone. An Azurite Consulting survey of 3,500 people found that 57 percent of gym-goers said they will wait three or more months before returning to the gym when it reopens. In the meantime, if you're looking for ways to stay fit at home, check out these 23 Easy At-Home Workouts You Can Do During Quarantine.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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