Best ways to avoid germs at the gym

By: Health Local Staff Jan 10, 2014
  Article
Best ways to avoid germs at the gym

From treadmill handles to shower stalls; the gym is a breeding ground for unsightly germs you want to avoid.

Germs can run rampant in the gym. From treadmill handles to shower stalls; the gym is a breeding ground for unsightly germs you want to avoid. Rather than picking up everything that lurks in the cracks of your local fitness centre, here are some helpful tips to avoid contact.

1. Always cover your feet
Flip-flops or sandals are a must when walking around the shower stalls or swimming pool. Never go barefoot or you put yourself at risk for developing athlete’s foot or an infection. Even the smallest cut or abrasion on your foot can put you at risk for developing a fungus. The best tip is to wear flip-flops in the shower and never come into contact with the bare floor. This goes for the sauna, changing room, Jacuzzi, and other public places.

2. Avoid the public water fountain
Viruses, such as the norovirus, are highly contagious, and often passed through a communal water fountain. To avoid contraction of a contagious virus, use your own water bottle and only refill it at home. If you drink more water than your bottle contains on one visit to the gym, be sure to bring along another water bottle from home to refill your own. It is also important to wipe your hands off before unscrewing the lid so that germs are not transferred.

3. Spray your gym bag
With disinfectant, of course. When you toss your shoes, water bottle, and gym bag on the floor of your room, be sure to spray them off with a disinfectant spray like Lysol. You may even want to spray your bag and the bottoms of your shoes off before you get home so that you don’t introduce bugs to your house. Spray them off in your car or just outside the gym.

4. Value your personal space
Rather than sharing equipment and working out close to other, keep your distance so that you don’t pick up germs. Crowded fitness classes are filled with germs that can be easily inhaled. Influenza is one of those viruses that can be passed in class. Keep a reasonable distance, at a one or two arm length, and avoid contact at all costs.

5. Bring your own equipment
No, you won’t be packing in your personal treadmill to the gym. But you should bring your own yoga mat, water bottle, or arm weights. Rather than using the yoga mat that was not disinfected properly after the previous class, use your own. Never borrow equipment unless you see that it was properly disinfected. If you must use a mat provided by the gym, be sure to use an antibacterial wipe to clean it before using. As an alternative, no slip socks and yoga shoes may be purchased to prevent your feet from touching the bare floor where germs may be hiding.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.