Gyms are a place for people looking to become fit and healthy. But unless you pay attention to cleanliness and proper hygiene, you could be exposing yourself to nasty infections. In this article, we discuss the most important steps to stay clean and hygienic at the gym.
People catch infections at gyms and sports clubs from dirty equipment. With so much sweat and body contact in fitness machines like dumbbells, railings, and more, it is not surprising to know that gyms can be a haven for germs, fungi, and viruses that cause infections, skin irritations, and respiratory illnesses.
That is why before anything else, take time to choose your health club. Aside from the location, rates, ambiance, and amenities, you should also consider the cleanliness of the gym. Inspect the gym to see if the equipment is clean and free of sweat. Don’t forget to check the locker rooms, as well as the shower and bathroom areas.
Among the most common disease-causing germs lurking in gyms are:
● Athlete's foot
● Cold and flu virus
● Plantar warts
● Hot-tub rash
While you can’t protect yourself 100% from infections, the following hygiene practices should significantly lower your risk:
Sanitize gym equipment.
Studies show that viruses, especially those associated with colds, live on the surfaces of gym equipment even after cleaning. So, what’s the best way to avoid these nasties? Sanitize everything you use. Germ-proofing gym equipment is easy with the help of medical-grade disinfecting wipes such as ultrasound wipes. Before a workout, wipe down equipment and mats. You also do the next user a favor by wiping down these surfaces again after use. You can also bring your own exercise mat. This might be extra work but it’s one way to protect yourself from germs and viruses.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands before and after a workout is the easiest and most effective way to prevent the spread of infections in the gym (and anywhere else). Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, from the door handles to the gym equipment and machines.
Avoid touching your face
The skin on your face is super prone to picking up all kinds of nasties in the gym. So, if you’re sweating and quickly rubbed your forehead off with your arm, you’re likely giving bacteria and viruses free access to your body. Ditch the habit of touching your face. If you need to wipe off the sweat, use a clean towel.
Disinfect shower areas
After your workout session, it is important to take a shower as soon as you can so that you don’t bring those disease-causing germs and viruses with you as you head out of the gym. Bacteria thrive in sweaty clothes. Make sure to shower thoroughly dry off with a clean towel, and put on dry, clean clothes. To minimize the chances of catching infections, bring your own soap and shampoo. Ask the gym owner or manager to place disinfecting products or cleaners in the shower area so each user can disinfect surfaces before and after showering. You can also wipe off surfaces like the faucet, shower head, mirror, and other bathroom fixtures with medical wipes.
Use flip flops
Don’t hop into the shower with your bare feet. Always wear water shoes or flip flops to protect your feet. Thoroughly wash your feet and dry after. If you’re prone to athlete’s foot, use antifungal powder as a precaution. And if you have cut or wound in your feet, make sure to cover it with bandage or gauze.
Wash your gym clothes
Personal hygiene is the key. So, make sure to wash your gym clothes. You want to have a clean and dry gym outfit for your next session, and this includes a clean pair of socks. Always bring a clean towel and never share it with anyone, not even your workout buddies. To prevent contamination, place your sweaty gym clothes inside a plastic bag before putting it in your gym bag.
Take care of your skin
Gym goers are at risk of skin infections, including ringworm, impetigo, and plantar warts. This is because the germs, fungi, and viruses that cause these infections love to breed in sweaty exercise equipment and moist, confined spaces. Check out these tips to take care of your skin while working out in a gym:
● Wear loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothes.
● Always wear shoes, especially in locker rooms and showers.
● Keep any cuts cleaned and covered.
● Wash and sanitize your hands right after working out.
● Use your own soap when showering.
Don't share personal hygiene items.
Last but not the least: do not share your personal care items – toiletries, towel, water bottles, razor, comb/hairbrush, makeup, and anything else that comes in contact with another person’s skin as they could be contaminated.
The gym is supposed to be a healthy place. But the reality is that it’s a breeding place for bacteria. To stay clean and hygienic at the gym, be sure to follow these tips so you don’t just come out fitter and sexier, but also healthier and free from infections!