It’s common knowledge that germs spread easily in public places – but have you ever considered your gym could be a main culprit for a bacteria blow-out? Exercising at the gym brings so many health benefits that outweigh the risks, so fitness fanatics shouldn’t feel alarmed. However, it is good to be aware of the hygiene howlers so you can shield yourself from getting ill.
You can pick up all number of nasty bugs and viruses from weight machines, which are often used by multiple people in quick succession. To prevent contamination, wash your hands with antibacterial hand wash before you hit the treadmill and carry hand sanitizer in your gym bag to use throughout your workout. Set a good example to others by making every effort to clean the machines you use with disinfectant wipes – don’t just smear them down with a sweat-soaked towel!
Funky Fungal Infections
The yucky fungus candida is rife in gyms across the country and can lead to everything from athlete’s foot, ring worm, jock itch and yeast infections – all of which have nasty symptoms and require treatment by antibiotics. Hot and sticky saunas, swimming pools and showers are the perfect warm, damp environment to pick up a fungal infection, so take a look around before you join the gym and check the facilities are ultra-clean. Airborne Viruses Cold and influenza germs stick around for 48 hours on hard surfaces and spread fast around commercial buildings, so airborne contagions are easy to catch. Severe air conditioning might keep you cool on the crosstrainer but it also promotes the circulation of infections, which spread via droplets when ill people cough or sneeze. There is not much you can do to prevent catching a cold, short of wearing a surgical mask. Just vow never to set foot inside when you are sick yourself!
Staph bacterium – the super bug that forms the basis of MRSA – Is the most notorious germs found in the gym and can cause nasty skin infections like impetigo, cellulitis and abscesses. Shared surfaces like yoga mats, swimming pool accessories and dumbbells should be disinfected thoroughly at every opportunity to avoid getting sick.
Grubby Changing Rooms
At the gym, germs are often prevalent before you’ve even broken a sweat. With the high volume of people walking through the doors every day, it is easy to pick up nasty bugs like strep in the locker room from peoples shoes. You can also catch planter warts from walking around barefoot, so wear flip flops to be on the safe side and don’t share your toiletries or clothing with other people.
Selecting a new gym soon? You might just want to take a closer look at the cleanliness before you start testing out the new treadmills…
Gym health tips brought to you by Vicks – protecting you and your family throughout the year!