3 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOUR GYM CLEAN
By Jane Sandwood
What contains 362 times more bacteria than a public toilet and 79 times more bacteria than a water faucet?
Depending on the cleaning habits of the people who used the equipment before you, and how clean the gym is overall, your gym could be the source of the next bacteria or virus that gets you sick or causes a fungal infection. Frankly, even if there wasn’t a possibility of getting sick, dirty gym equipment is just gross.
CLEAN GYM EQUIPMENT BEFORE EACH USE
If your gym doesn’t have paper towels and sanitizer or wipes available, petition them to add this facility. Personal towels should not be used for this. While we hope the person before us wiped down his or her equipment, unless you saw it happen you can’t be sure, so make sure you clean before and after you use it. Pay special attention to any soft, foamy, or squishy part of the equipment (handles, for example) is important because any place that can stay damp or retain moisture can become a breeding ground for germs.
If you’re in the habit of renting or borrowing yoga mats or resistance cords or cycling shoes from the gym itself, you might want to invest in personal equipment. Gyms should be responsible for cleaning them regularly, but there’s no way to know for sure, and the last thing any of us needs in a skin infection we picked up from an unknown person at the gym.
WASH YOUR HANDS
The best defense against what you’ll inevitably come across in a space crowded with sweaty people is a good hand wash. Regularly washing your hands after using gym equipment will help you avoid things like the common cold, and a good shower after a workout wouldn’t hurt either. Doing both does much to lessen your chance of a serious infection, such as MRSA.
DO NOT GO BAREFOOT
Yes, it feels inconvenient to have to slip on sandals in the locker room, but locker room floors are breeding grounds for all sorts of nasty things. Dirt and other unsavory particulars get tracked in by outside 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 HAPPY GYM
By now, we’ve probably scared you away from gyms for at least the next week. That isn’t necessary, however. If you’ve visually inspected your gym and find that the staff stays on top of dust, stains, and things like clean towels, and you make an effort to clean your equipment, wash hands, and if you never go barefoot, you’ll be able to enjoy your time working out without picking up any unwanted guest.
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content manager with over 10 years’ experience across many fields.
Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to fitness and nutrition.
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