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Health and Fitness News

Germs at the Gym

Six tips to stay healthy in the gym and locker room.

You go to the gym to get healthy not sick. Unfortunately, gym equipment, towels, mats, and locker rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Germs like to multiply in warm, moist environments (think: the locker room). While skin infections are the most common infection passed around the gym, you’re susceptible to all other manner of illnesses due to the high number of sweaty people coming and going. This isn’t meant to scare you away from the gym. With a little caution and care you can easily avoid exposure to germs and safely continue your quest to fitness.

Take these measures at the gym to stay healthy at gym and home.

Wash Your Hands

Your main defense against illness is hand washing. If you don’t shower until you get home, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and rinse with warm water as soon as you’re done with your workout. Whatever germs you’re carrying from touching the weights, machines, and equipment will wash away.  

Wear Shoes

Athletic shoes are a given in the gym, but what about bare feet in the locker room? Shower and bathroom floors likely harbor athlete’s foot, ringworm, or staph bacteria. Avoid unpleasant infections by wearing flip-flops or water shoes everywhere you go in the locker room. They may not look cool, but they’re a lot cooler than the bacteria awaiting you.

Use a Towel

Your goal is to touch as few surfaces as possible in the gym. In the locker room this means putting a towel between your body and the bench and between your feet and the floor when you’re changing. Be sure to sit on a towel in the sauna.
Most gyms are careful to properly wash and dry their towels, but some aren’t. Unless they’re washed with bleach and dried using high heat, a towel may contain bacteria from the person who used it the day before. This is especially true of thicker, fluffier towels. You’d do better to use your own clean towel from home and wash it after each use.

Clean the Machines

Your gym should provide paper towels and anti-bacterial spray to keep the cardio machines clean. In case the person before you didn’t clean the machine, lightly spray and wipe whatever surface you’ll touch before touching it. This includes the elliptical handles, treadmill screen, and the bicycle seat. When you’re done using the machine, give it another quick spray out of consideration for the next user.

Cover Skin Cuts

Any time you have an open cut, scrape, or abrasion, be sure to cover it with a clean bandage before being around other people at the gym or in public. You don’t want to pass infection to others and you don’t want to be exposed to bacteria that could cause an infection in your wound. Keep an eye out for signs of infection including redness, warmth, swelling, and drainage.

Don’t Share

You were taught as a child to share your toys, but forget that rule at the gym. Sharing towels or bar soap is another way germs are spread. Use your own towel and soap or use liquid soap provided by the gym.

About Training with Mr. America
About my programs: Mr. America Jason Kozma's Personal Training is a triple threat of body shaping weight workouts, precision fat-loss cardio and holistic nutrition using regular foods. Using his system, you can radically upgrade your fitness, health appearance and self-confidence. Clients routinely shed 20 pounds of body fat in eight weeks or less, increase their strength and flexibility, and achieve extreme cardiovascular fitness.

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