The temperature and humidity in gyms can vary greatly from one establishment to another. Smaller gyms and workout classes can be custom regulated, but larger facilities may have difficulty meeting their clients' comfort levels. This can increase the risk of possible dehydration and heat stroke. Whatever heat and humidification decisions are made, extreme temperatures should be avoided.
Special temperature and humidity considerations must be taken for pregnant women. If a pregnant woman dehydrates, the unborn child can be in danger. Children in exercise classes also can lose a considerable amount of fluids as they perspire while exercising. Elderly people with poorer circulation or injuries may come to gyms to rehabilitate or to gain strength. They may not work out as strenuously, and generally feel cooler. Therefore they may prefer temperatures a bit warmer.
Keeping Muscles Warm
According to "Iron Man," a sports magazine in the body building circuit, warming up properly and keeping muscles warm during a workout is important. A training pace that keeps muscles at a continued state of warmth while not resting excessively between sets and exercises is recommended. "Iron Man" suggests that a room be maintained at approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Guidelines and Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration makes recommendations for a workplace to be maintained between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level between 20 to 60 percent. The gym is not a typical workplace, however. OSHA's regulatory language regarding gym temperature is vague and recommends only that it be measured by the clients' level of comfort.
The International Fitness Association suggests that areas near pools be kept between 70 and 80 degrees and to maintain aerobics, cardio, weight-training and Pilates rooms at approximately 65 to 68 degrees. Yoga classes can be closer to 80 degrees and humidity levels for all areas should be around 40 to 60 percent.
According to fitness club chain Bally Total Fitness, the general temperature for all Bally clubs ranges from 68 to 74 degrees. Group exercise studios are maintained between 68 and 72 degrees and pool areas are maintained at about 80 degrees. Sauna rooms are kept at 160 degrees and whirlpool baths around 102 degrees.