Workout etiquettes you should follow while exercising in public

Whether you are out for a run in the park or you're off to the gym to lift some weights, here is how you can be mindful about the comfort of people around you

Shrenik Avlani
First Published17 Jun 2024, 06:00 PM IST
Here are the fitness rules you should follow in public.
Here are the fitness rules you should follow in public.(Istockphoto)

Sweating is no fun, especially in India where we seem to be sweating just by virtue of existing. As a recent survey by fitness company Cult.Fit has found, it isn’t as if Indians like to exercise much anyway. According to the enterprise Wellness survey, 64% of the Indian workforce does not exercise regularly. 

So, despite all this, if you are going to exercise, it best be a convenient and hassle-free experience. No doubt you have observed enough bad behaviour all around you while out for a run or a strength session at the gym. Here are some good etiquettes and habits that you ought to follow while exercising in public places such as parks and gyms.

Walking in park

A walk in the park sounds pretty simple, but anyone who does so in any of the parks across the length and breadth of our country has probably already figured out that in India, people walk just like they drive — in any and all directions without any thought about how others around them might be affected.

Also Read Why you need to work on your breath

Parks are shared spaces, and they are best used while bearing some basic rules in mind. There are two sides to every road, stick to your left while walking. If you see someone walking straight into you, firmly yet politely show them their rightful place on the opposite side of the path. 

Walking and running are often done in the company of others. If you are doing this in a group, make sure you don’t walk abreast spreading across the whole of the walking path. If you are a slow walker, stick to the left just like one ought to while driving. There is always someone faster than you training for a run.         

Phone speaker

All kind of exercise is better and more enjoyable with music. But please never play the public DJ and listen to your music on your phone speaker. There’s nothing more irritating than being jolted out of your focus by tinny music that you might not really be music to your ears. Also, it is rude to have a conversation with your phone speaker on. No one in the park needs to know what groceries people at home want you to bring back or what’s going on in your life.

Return gym equipment to its place

A gym is a public space that members pay to use. The least one expects in a gym is finding equipment such as dumbbells, barbells, weights and other stuff in its rightful place. If you expect to find weights where they ought to be, then put any movable equipment you use back where you picked it up from. That’s basic gym etiquette. Trainers are there to train, cleaners to clean. There’s no one to put your weights back on the rack. You pay the gym to use the equipment, not to pick up after you. 

Wipe down the bench and machines

Nothing feels dirtier than having to pickle in someone else’s sweat. It is unhygienic too. Always wipe down the bench, yoga mat and any equipment you use in the gym. It is best to use an antiseptic wipe but if a gym doesn’t have that handy, use a damp tissue or wet wipe. 

Unsolicited instructions

Consider yourself lucky if you have gone for a run, walk or workout and have never ever been told the best way to do it, the correct form, the most beneficial time to do it… you know what I am talking about. Unsolicited advice is as rampant in India as pollution and unruly traffic. Everyone has access to the Internet, knows a trainer and has the ability to ask for advice or help if they so require, so keep your advice to yourself. 

Do not drive for a walk

The unbearable heatwaves we are experiencing at the moment are a result of climate change. While ensuring your health and fitness is important, so is caring for the planet’s health and future. Cut down your carbon footprint by avoiding driving to go for a walk or run. Start running or walking from your doorstep; it saves time, money, fuel and the planet too. Choose a gym near your office or home that you could walk to. Little things matter.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.

Also Read How to workout during a heatwave

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First Published:17 Jun 2024, 06:00 PM IST
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