Bring your own yoga mats, says Health Ministry as gyms open from August 5

Agencies. Updated: 8/3/2020 7:11:37 PM National

Oxygen levels before exercise to be checked, no laughter yoga yet

New Delhi: Ahead of the August 5 deadline for the opening of gyms under the next phase of COVID-19 unlock process, the government on said all gym owners will have to check oxygen levels of users before allowing them to exercise.
Users with oxygen saturation below 95 per cent will not be permitted to exercise and gyms must procure pulse oximetres to test every client before letting them use the equipment.
In view of the nature of COVID-19 transmission through respiratory droplets, Ministry of Health guidelines on prevention of the disease in gyms and yoga studios has prohibited the practice of laughter yoga for the time being and also said that yogic kriyas should be avoided right now and group fitness sessions should be arranged online as far as possible.
“In view of potential threat of spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded music and songs may be played during exercises and shouting and laughter yoga exercise should not be allowed,” the guidelines say mandating a six feet distance between users as well as between exercise equipment.
The Guidelines on Preventive Measures to Contain Spread of COVID-19 in Yoga Institutes Gymnasiums also directs that every user must have four square metre area to himself or herself during exercising and the floor area of the gym or a yoga studio should be arranged accordingly.
Yoga institutes and gymnasiums in containment zones will remain closed for public and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up from August 5 subject to compliance with Ministry guidance.
Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years have been advised not to use gyms in closed spaces.
The guidelines also make it clear that while users when visiting gyms and yoga centres must wear face masks and covers, the same should be avoided during exercising as they cause difficulty in breathing.
“Use of face covers and masks is mandatory at all times within the premises. However, during yoga exercise or exercising in gymnasiums, as far as possible only a visor may be used. Use of mask (in particular N-95 masks) during exercise may cause difficulty in breathing,” says the guidance.
Fitness centres will also have to create specific pathways for entering and exiting exercise areas within closed spaces using floor or wall markings and ensure queues with people maintaining six-feet distance.
The official guidance advises card and contactless payment.
Spas, sauna, steam bath and swimming pool areas will, however, remain closed for people.
On yogic kriyas, the advisory said: “The practice of yogic kriyas may be avoided for the time being. Even if it is to be practiced essentially, it may be done in open spaces.”
Regarding personal training in yoga institutes and gymnasiums the Health Ministry has mandated six-feet distance between personal trainer and clients and asked for sessions to be tailored to include only exercises that do not require physical contact.
Fitness centres will have to stock pulse oximeters, thermal screening equipment and sanitizers.
Only asymptomatic persons (including staff) be allowed in the premises.
Common exercise mats should be avoided and members should bring their own exercise mats, which they may take back with them, said the Health Ministry.

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