The thought of going to the gym usually conjures up images of healthy living and wellness, but athletic clubs and rec centers can also harbor millions of germs that can potentially make you sick. While the hope is that those using and cleaning the gym equipment are diligent in their efforts, many are not. Here are four simple ways to protect yourself from bacteria and microorganisms commonly found in gyms.
A recent study revealed that treadmills have 74 times more bacteria than a faucet in a public restroom, and free weights possess more than 300 times the bacteria found on the seat of a toilet. Protect yourself and help prevent the spread of germs by using the disinfectant spray or wipes provided by your gym to sanitize workout equipment.
Use a Towel
Always bring a clean towel to wipe away your sweat. If you take yoga classes, an additional towel can be useful when you’re attempting poses that bring your head or face into contact with the mat. Though yoga is beneficial for the body and mind, yoga mats can be loaded with illness-causing bacteria.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Gym users can expose themselves to fungi, strep and various strains of staph if they touch their face after using workout equipment. If you have an itch or need to remove sweat but don’t have a towel, use your shirt. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands directly until they’ve been washed.
Shower Right Away
Bathe after every workout and wear flip flops in the shower stall. If you can’t shower immediately, at the very least wash your hands and face thoroughly to avoid bringing germs home with you.
Gyms may be storehouses of bacteria, but don’t let it keep you from getting your workouts in; the advantages far outweigh the risks. Having good gym hygiene will significantly increase your chances of staying healthy.