Staying Hygienic When Sharing Gym Equipment : Regular gym goers often forget the importance of hygiene at the gym, with 35% of men admitting to never wiping down weight machines, and 25% of women forgetting to wipe down cardio equipment.
Due to the pandemic, many fitness lovers have set up their own home gyms to keep active while local gyms are closed. However, gyms are likely to open in the near future, and hygiene should be a top priority when sharing equipment. Take a look at these tips for staying hygienic and healthy while at a public gym.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands has never been more important, but it is a practice that you should get into the habit of while at the gym. Additionally, buying soap and hand sanitiser online has never been so easy, so there should always been something available to use. A common bacterium found on dirty gym equipment is Staphylococcus, which can live on weights, mats, benches and towels. The key is to avoid letting bacteria under the skin. Only use your own towels, and put one down on the mats, as they may not be regularly cleaned. Keep cuts and sores covered up, and try not to touch your face too often to avoid infection. An antibiotic will clear up the infection should it occur.
Locker Room Hygiene
You may be working out on your lunch break or in the morning before work. For obvious personal hygiene reasons, you may need to take a shower in the gym. A shower can also help wash away any stray bacteria or fungal infections lingering after touching the gym equipment. The heat generated in gyms and changing rooms create the ideal environment for fungal infections such as ringworm or athlete’s foot. To avoid this in the public showers and locker rooms, wear shower shoes, and avoid sitting on wet benches. Should you get a skin infection or fungal infection, consult your doctor and avoid the gym until it has cleared up.
Common bacteria found in fitness centers include Rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, Influenza and Salmonella. A 2006 study found that the most common virus found on hand contact surfaces in a military gym was Rhinovirus. As respiratory viruses can be spread at the gym, deep cleaning should be taking place at your regular workout haunt. Request confirmation that the equipment, locker rooms and shower rooms are being regularly deep cleaned, and ensure that you are still cleaning equipment each time you use it. They should be cleaning surfaces, including the reception area, as well as the main areas of potential spread. There should also be cleaning sprays, hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities available for you to use during and after your workout.
Staying hygienic is more important than ever to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it is something that you should always think about when you’re at the gym. The heat generated, combined with sharing equipment, can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and viruses; therefore you should always wipe down equipment using the sprays provided before and after a workout.
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