Keeping Safe and Healthy in Your Gym Environment
By Jackie Edwards
If you don’t already make it a habit to wipe down gym equipment before you use it, you might want to consider doing it right away. As it turns out, gym enthusiasts can have a number of pretty disgusting habits. A survey of 2000 people conducted by Nuffield Health discovered that 74% of people had noticed how their fellow gym-goers committed a gym blooper such as not wiping down sweaty equipment. A further 49% of those surveyed admitted to using water bottles, towels and toiletries that didn’t belong to them. In terms of exercising while sick, 18% admitted going to the gym despite sneezing and coughing and 16% said they did not wash their workout clothes between gym sessions.
While the chances are good that you won’t pick up a life-threatening superbug at your local gym, you are able to significantly limit your exposure to germs that can cause flu, athlete’s foot, staph infection and norovirus. While keeping a gym germ free largely relies on regular commercial deep-cleaning there are a number of tips available that will ensure you being able to enjoy a cleaner workout session.
Purchase a better water bottle
Plastic water bottles are known to harbor bacteria. The best water bottles in terms of health and cleanliness are made from glass or stainless steel. To clean it properly wash it in hot, soapy water and rinse properly. It is also important to make sure no one sneaks a sip from your bottle when you aren’t watching. Keep your bottle with you at all times while you are exercising, or locked away in your locker if you prefer.
Wipe, wash and repeat
Ensuring your hands are clean can help ensure that the germs found in the gym can’t cause any harm. Whether you decide to clean your own hands, wipe down gym equipment before you use it, or a combination of the two, you can be sure that you will be able to eliminate at least some of the pesky germs and bacteria that flourish in the warm and moist gym environment. After you are done using a set of weights or exercise machine use a hand sanitizer and wipes to wipe down the surfaces and prevent your own germs from running rampant.
Clean your gym gear
Germs like nothing more than a dirty, dark gym bag to multiply in. There are a number of ways you can prevent your gym bag from becoming contaminated. Put your dirty gym clothes into a plastic bag before putting it into your gym bag. Empty the bag directly into the washer. Do the same with your sneakers – put them into a plastic bag before you put them into your gym bag and wipe them with a disinfectant as soon as you get home.
For your own sake and that of other gym goers, stay at home if you are feeling ill. Also stay away from the gym if you have an open wound that may be prone to infection or infect any equipment you come into contact with. At the end of the day gym hygiene all boils down to common courtesy and when practiced by all will significantly decrease any and all gym-acquired infections.