Why Keeping Gym Equipment Clean is Key
North America is considered the region with the largest membership base for fitness centers in the world, which is great news considering the media’s dire warnings about the effects of the sedentary lifestyle. Many people frequent gyms to keep illnesses like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes at bay but are they inadvertently welcoming unwanted bacteria into their homes by failing to exercise proper gym hygiene. In this post, we highlight common germs you might find at the gym and suggest a few easy ways to keep things clean.
What Germs are Commonly Encountered at Health Centres?
Research carried out by FitRated found that free weights have over 300 times more bacteria than a public toilet. The same trend can be seen in other shared equipment, including resistance training machines, mats for yoga and other floor exercises, benches, lockers, and the like. The evidence shows that it is not enough to rely on the gym itself; you should consider cleaning gym equipment as well.
Just a few germs commonly found at gyms include:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): The most commonly transmitted STD in the world can also be contracted at the gym and other public places and walking barefoot can lead to the development of plantar warts.
E.coli: This bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and pneumonia, and it can often be found on dirty gym surfaces.
Staphylococcus aureus: A bacteria can that can cause skin infections, as well as life-threatening conditions.
Some of the dirtiest pieces of equipment include treadmills, exercise bikes, and weights.
How to Clean Equipment and Enjoy the Gym Fully
Far from being alarmed by the germs at the gym, use the information gleaned to make a few simple changes that will enable you to enjoy all your favorite workouts without worrying about an illness.
Make sure to bring anti-bacterial wipes, giving a quick wipe-down to equipment such as free weights and treadmills (at least the areas you touch with your hands). Do not use the same wipe on more than one surface, or you could inadvertently spread germs rather than clean them up.
You might also think about bringing your own equipment (mats, for instance, are ideal because you can clean them at home in your own time).
The first thing to pack into your gym bag should be your slippers. Many germs lurk on shower floors, so don’t risk developing athlete’s foot or HPV; bear in mind that HPV has no cure.
Finally, be aware of how items like your knapsack or gym bag could introduce germs into your home. Opt for sturdy bags that can be disinfected or even washed regularly, without being destroyed.
Germs should never deter you from your passion for fitness. The truth is that despite being shared spaces, gyms are the only solution for many people who are pressed for time or live in colder climes. With a few small steps and greater awareness of where bacterial lurks, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy optimal fitness and hygiene, regardless of where you work out.