When I was a member at the local gym, I did enjoy going. Although there were good points and bad points about the place, going did help to turn my attitude around about fitness. One thing that happened to me more often than not was getting sick. I would come down with a cold and while I will never know for certain it was due to touching the equipment at the gym, I have a strong feeling it was the cause of many of my colds.
Get ready to be grossed out because the stuff you can catch at the gym is really nasty!
What Holds the Most Germs?
Handles – Any handles that you can touch will contain most of the germs. Also be aware of everything on the machines that you can touch, including the buttons.
Showers – Don’t even think about using the shower without wearing shower shoes. You’re just asking for a case of athlete’s foot if you shower in your bare feet.
Yoga mats – I can’t imagine that most people don’t bring their own yoga mats to the gym but if your gym supplies them and you have been using them, wipe them down well. The sweat from the previous user can leave bacteria that can transfer to your skin causing Folliculitis (inflammation of one or more hair follicles.)
What You Can Do to Help Avoid the Germs
Wash your hands – wash them before and after you use the equipment. Dry your hands with paper towels or air dry. Don’t dry with the towel you’re using for the machines. Antibacterial gel also helps if you want to use it in-between hand washing.
Avoid touching your face – particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Use antibacterial wipes – hopefully your gym supplies them but if not, they are inexpensive. Carry them with you and wipe down everything before you use it – handles, buttons, seats, benches, etc. Also cover up any cuts or abrasions you may have on your hands. Most of all, don’t wipe down equipment with the same towel you’re using to wipe your own sweat. Your towel can carry fungal bacteria like ringworm.
Water fountains – personally, I always brought my own water to the gym but if you must use a water fountain, let it run for 15 seconds or so before taking a drink.
Do you have any tips to share?