We all know how wonderfully beneficial regular workouts can be. Breaking a little sweat can lead to clearer skin, less toxins, a revved up immune system, more constant sleep pattern, less risk of cancer, clear pores, increased endorphins and a speedier metabolism (to name a few). With that in mind, I try and hit the gym as often as possible. Unfortunately, yesterday after listening to my treadmill neighbor hacking, coughing, sniffling and sneezing for 45 minutes, I was reminded of the one downside to the gym: germs! Now that flu season is approaching, I want to be extra cautious and reap all the benefits of my workouts including optimizing my health, not deteriorating it with gym germs. Follow these easy steps below to avoid getting sick and instead of sniffling all season long, you can bask in a healthy post workout glow!
- Take a tour of the gym before you join. Make sure everything meets your standards- the locker room and workout area should be well maintained, there should be adequate cleaning staff, and the gym should be well-ventilated. Areas with little ventilation and circulation can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Disinfect! Most gyms provide disinfecting wipes or spray. If your gym does not provide these make sure to bring your own. Wipe down all equipment before you use it. And for good karma, wipe down after as well! Hand sanitizer doesn’t hurt either.
- Hands off. Your hands have been in contact with thousands of germs since walking into the gym, try to avoid touching your face and spreading the germs to your entryways (nose and mouth). Use a towel to wipe off your hard earned sweat.
- Swear by shower shoes. The sauna, hot tub and showers are always a great way to end a workout but they can also be a prime spot for bacteria. Avoid picking up unwanted conditions by always wearing flip flops.
- Cover up. We know you work hard to look good, but don’t flaunt it in the locker room. Not only does it make some people uncomfortable, but you are exposing your ENTIRE body to bacteria. Make sure to use a clean towel to cover up, especially when sitting on benches and other surfaces to avoid getting sick.
- Shed your sweaty clothes and shower immediately. Bacteria and germs multiple and collect on your clothes throughout your workout. If you don’t have time to shower immediately, wash your hands and your face.