What contains 362 times more bacteria than a public toilet and 79 times more bacteria than a water faucet? Gym equipment. Having a clean gym shouldn’t be something a gym-goer should have to worry about. But in today’s world, it is definitely a top priority.
Your gym could very well be the source of the next bacteria, virus or fungal infection that gets you sick. Unfortunately, the possibility of that is probably going to depend on others. The diligence of the cleaning habits of the person who used the equipment before you is a crucial factor. Do you know how clean your gym is overall? Honestly, even if there wasn’t a possibility of getting sick, dirty gym equipment is just gross.
CLEAN GYM EQUIPMENT BEFORE EACH USE
Every gym should have paper towels, sanitizer, and wipes available in their facility. Personal towels should not be used ever to wipe down anything you have touched with your hands or anything else. While we hope the person before us wiped down the equipment, unless you saw it happen you can’t be sure. Therefore, make sure you clean it before and after you use it. Pay attention to any soft, foamy, or squishy part of the equipment such as handles. This is important because any place that can stay damp or retain moisture can become a breeding ground for germs.
If you use yoga mats, resistance cords or anything from the gym, you might want to invest in your own. Gyms should be responsible for cleaning them regularly, but there’s no way to know for sure. The last thing any of us needs is a skin infection from an unknown person at the gym. Ringworm is a very common skin fungus among gym-goers.
WASH YOUR HANDS
The best defense in a space crowded with sweaty people is a good hand washing. Regularly washing your hands will help you avoid the common cold. A good shower after a workout wouldn’t hurt either. Doing both will greatly lessen your chance of a serious infection, such as MRSA.
DO NOT GO BAREFOOT
It may feel inconvenient to wear sandals in the locker room, but locker room floors are breeding grounds for all sorts of nasty things. Dirt and other unsavory “things” get tracked in by shoes. Moist, humid air becomes a welcoming place for all kinds of airborne germs that can settle on the floor. Plus, there’s always athlete’s foot to contend with in a gym. The smartest thing you can do to combat all of this is to keep shoes on at all times–even in the shower.
A CLEAN GYM IS A HAPPY GYM
By now, we’ve probably scared you away from gyms for at least the next week. That isn’t necessary. If you’ve seen the staff stay on top of dust, stains, and clean towels, you should feel confident in getting back to your workout. If you have made the effort to do your part by cleaning your equipment, washing hands, and never going barefoot you should be clear of picking up any unwanted guests.
Meet the author
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content manager with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Her interests are mostly related to fitness and nutrition. Click here for more articles by Jane Sandwood.
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(article previously published in October 2017)