Friday, May 13, 2011

Your Gym's Germy Little Secret!


We all know that working out and staying fit is the best thing for our health, but the scary fact is that the gym is one of the most germ-riddled places around. Between all the sweat, close quarters, and general activities that take place there, one of the easiest places to get sick or pick up an infection could be during your workout.

Okay, now don’t take that as an excuse to pass up on the gym sessions…that’s hardly the case! What it does mean though, is that you need to be aware of the germ-fest that is around you and take precautions. Now, I’ve worked in a gym, and while it was a really nice one and we did our very best to keep it as clean as possible, there is just no way to stay on top of everything. There are also some things that I’ve seen people do that made me want to dive into a pool of Purell! we can’t control the sanitary or hygiene habits of those around us, but we can still take care of ourselves:

Wipe It Baby! I’m sure you’ve seen those sanitary wipe dispensers around your gym. They should be in all of them, if not the actual dispensers at least some paper towels and spray. Make friends with them. Wipe down benches before you use them and the same goes for the cardio equipment. It’s a kind of courtesy protocol to wipe these things down after your workout and you've gotten them all nice and sweaty, but not everyone does that. So before you use, wipe it, Baby!

My Face Goes Where? Think of the places that come into close proximity to your face: the benches, certain weight machines, but namely workout mats. In yoga classes there are plenty of stretches that have you laying face down on these mats, these mats are used by SO many people; they get flipped upside down, turned around, and by the time you get there your face could be on the side that was previously on the floor, or getting the rear view of another gym member. Again, grab a wipe and make sure to disinfect before you stretch.

Flip-Flops Required. In the locker room, if you plan on taking a shower, be sure to bring a pair of shower safe shoes. One of the easiest places to get a fungal or staph infection is by walking around barefoot. That also goes if you’re going into a sauna (a breeding ground for bacteria thanks to the hot and humid conditions), a steam room, or even just walking to the pool. Avoid being barefoot anywhere.

Have Waterbottle Will Travel! Waterfountains are also notorious for being germy, and this goes for all of them. Bring a reusable waterbottle for yourself and sip away. Of course it’s far better to stay hydrated especially when you’re working out and if it’s between a waterfountain and passing out, by all means guzzle away! But if you can, stuff that gym bag with your own bottle.

Don’t Touch! Even with the most wipe-friendly attitude you still can’t avoid touching everything with germs…this is also just a fact of life, we can’t and don’t want to be living in bubbles! So don’t be afraid of grabbing that dumbbell and going about your routine, but also try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes without thoroughly washing your hands first.

Alright, that should give you some tips on keeping your immune system healthy while sweating through your workout! The intention of this post wasn’t to scare your into becoming a complete germ-a-phobe, but rather to just make you more aware. Have a great one and have you gotten your workout in yet?

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