4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Gym Germs
by Tracey Pollack
We go to the gym to be healthy, but all of the germs that lurk at the gym can make you question its healthy rep. See, gyms are usually buzzing with activity and if you aren’t careful, you’ll come home with a whole lot more than buffer arms and flatter abs. But staying away from germs shouldn’t mean staying away from the gym. Just knowing what can be lurking can help you avoid any illness. If the thought of germs at the gym makes you sick, take these preventative measures to stay in good health while you get in good shape.
- Wipe It Off Well
Be equipped for safer workouts by wiping down the machines, weights and gym equipment you use with antibacterial wipes or sprays. These surfaces are breeding grounds for germs since they’re shared by so many people. If your gym provides these wipes, take full advantage. If they don’t, take your own. While you’re at it, carry an antibacterial gel for your hands and use it throughout your workout. Be careful and be thoughtful by wiping down any equipment both before and after you use it to help everyone stay healthy.
- Save Your Shower
While it’s convenient to shower at the gym, you may be picking up more than you’re washing off. Shower stall floors are petri dishes for germs that can enter small cuts on your feet and cause dangerous infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. If you must shower at the gym, wear a pair of shower shoes, use anti-microbial soap and be sure that your feet don’t touch the floor. Since showers are one of the germiest places at the gym, it’s safer to make a clean getaway and simply shower at home.
- BYOT – Bring Your Own Towel
Just thinking about all of the other people that have used your gym’s towels is almost enough to make you throw in the towel on your gym! And don’t be fooled – the gym’s so-called “clean” towels are often carried in the same hamper as the dirty ones. But don’t sweat it, just take your own towels from home to avoid anyone else’s germs. Use your towels to cover yoga mats, machines and any other equipment that you use. Keep plastic bags in your gym bags to take your dirty towels home for a good cleaning.
- Tote a Better Gym Bag
Even though most of germs on your gym bag are harmless to you since they’re yours, illness-causing microbes are still sticking to your bag whenever it rests on a bench or the floor. Since you need your gear on the go, bag a plastic or vinyl gym bag because germs are much less likely to latch onto these materials. In addition, stash your dirty clothes and sneakers in plastic bags inside. Keep a bottle of disinfectant spray in your gym bag or the car so you can clean off your gym bag’s surface before accidentally bringing them home.
Since it’s practically impossible to spot germs at the gym, taking these healthy precautions can help you cut your risk of illness. Better safe than sick!