7 smart steps to take to avoid nasty germs when you workout at the gym.
Did you know that your gym is one of the germiest places you can come in contact with? “Gyms are hotbeds of germ activity. Norovirus, which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, can survive for a month on the surface of exercise machines. The fungi responsible for foot infections multiply at a blinding pace in the shower. And microbes like MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to dangerous skin infections, lurk in the locker room.”
It took me a long time (22 years to be exact) to take the plunge and join a gym. Up until 3 years ago, I did my workouts exclusively at home. My decision to join a gym was the result of being bored with my home fitness routine and the convenience of having a small gym opening in my neighborhood. While I have enjoyed the variety of workout options and the new friends I have met with my gym membership, as a self-proclaimed germ phobic, I have not liked the prospect of being exposed to so many harmful gym germs.
- Wipe equipment before and after your workout with a disinfectant. Most gyms supply anti-bacterial wipes. Use them!!
- Bring your own yoga/Pilates/exercise mat to class. After each use, clean your mat with a disinfectant spray. There are several store bought versions that are natural disinfectants or you can make your own using essential oils.
- Speaking of yoga and Pilates, sometimes the instructor will lead you in a practice that includes getting off your mat. For those instances, be prepared and cover your feet. I recently started using No Slip Crossover Yoga Pilates Barre socks by Lupo. These socks are give me peace of mind of not wearing bare feet and the confidence to keep me balanced and flexible while exercising. The straps across the top keeps the socks snug for any practice. I noticed another yoga student wearing them too; her socks’ distinctive swirls on the bottom were a dead give away. Both of us remarked how more comfortable we felt working out, especially when we saw the hair clumps swirling around the floor.
- Wear flip-flops in the shower and never sit on a bench unclothed. (Personally, I would never take a shower at the gym—that grosses me out)
- Never drink out of the drinking fountain. Bring your own water bottle.
- Take your own towel. The gym towel I am now using is made by Towel Tech. The reason why I paid $20 for this towel at the IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo was specifically for its germ resistance. Towel Tech is made from an advanced fiber called, Tencel, which has been shown to demonstrate less bacterial growth, reduced odor, and is quicker drying than other fibers. I like how it is color coded on both sides, so I always know which side was facing a germy surface.It has a magnet in the corner so I can hang it up and keep track of it when I am using a machine. And another great feature is the zippered, net pocket which is big enough for keys and my cell phone. I don’t have to worry about my valuables and focus on my workout.
- Shower as soon as possible after a workout. Staying in sweaty clothes is a breeding ground for germs.
Working out is essential to maintaining good health. If you choose the gym as your source for workouts, follow these 7 steps to reduce the chance of getting nasty gym germs.
Which gym germs fighting step is essential to your workout routine?