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As gyms open in Georgia, doctor shares advice and cautions for you

Gov. Brian Kemp gave gyms the green light to begin opening on April 24.

ATLANTA — An Atlanta doctor has some advice and cautions to share as more gyms and fitness centers open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Brian Kemp gave gyms the green light to begin opening on April 24. 

11Alive's Cheryl Preheim wanted to know what concerns doctors have about going to the gym. 

“Today I do have concerns about the safety of going to a gym, whether you are 100 percent healthy or you have underlying heart issues.” Dr. Jonathon Kim said. 

Dr. Kim is the Chief of Sports Cardiology at Emory. He is also the head cardiologist for the Atlanta Braves, Hawks, Falcons and Atlanta Dream, Georgia Tech and the Peachtree Road Race. 

He says it is important for people to understand and think through the risks of exposure to COVID-19.

With even more businesses beginning to reopen in Georgia and throughout the country this week, he says deciding when it’s the right time to enter your fitness center or gym is an important decision.

“The shared equipment, the fact everybody is touching everything, and that when you are running, you are touching your face more than you think,” he said are things you need to think about.

He is cautioning everyone, especially cardiovascular patients who depend on exercise as a treatment for their heart disease, not to rush back into the gym.

Credit: AP
A sign on posted on gym equipment, advises patrons to practice social distancing amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak at Bodyplex Fitness Adventure on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Grayson, Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week the resumption of elective medical procedures, as well as the reopening of certain close-contact businesses like gyms, barbershops and tattoo parlors. (AP Photo/Sudhin Thanawala)

If you choose to go back to the gym, Dr. Kim has some tips for limiting your potential exposure. 

“I would consider wiping down all the surfaces of the equipment extensively that you know you are going to touch, then sanitize up your hands.”

Dr. Kim also says you can do your workout and do the same thing each time you switch machines or move to other areas of the facility.

He added: “There is a thought that droplets spread while you are exercising, especially when someone is breathing heavy.”  

So, if you are running, Dr. Kim says don’t run directly behind someone.  

He also recommends people leaving a greater distance between those around them. 

“Rather than think of six feet of separation, double the distance,” Kim said. “It is a good idea to think about 12-to-15 feet between people.”

Credit: AP
Sterling Henderson, 27, cleans gym equipment at Bodyplex Fitness Adventure on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Grayson, Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week the resumption of elective medical procedures, as well as the reopening of certain close-contact businesses like gyms, barbershops and tattoo parlors that were closed due to coronavirus concerns. Henderson said she was "ecstatic" the gym had reopened. "I think they're doing a pretty good job of keeping everyone apart and cleaning. And there's not that many people here now, said Henderson.". (AP Photo/Sudhin Thanawala)

Other tips if you go to the gym:

  • Take your own water bottle
  • Bring your own towel
  • Limit the number of personal belongings you take into the building
  • Avoid the locker room

Kim says he currently has patients who are post COVID-19 who want to exercise again. He is medically consulting on the safe return to exercise with state and national groups to devise a framework of expert consensus recommendations.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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