The unfortunate reality is that a gym that doesn’t place an emphasis on cleanliness may overlook the sources of many infections. Nothing is better than a clean gym for keeping your health as a priority.
You should be able to tell whether your gym is being maintained to a high standard of hygiene. You will see cleaning schedules posted and initialed, or evidence of a cleaning service that comes in regularly to disinfect the facilities. Many gyms now offer disinfectant wipes to encourage each person to clean the equipment after use.
Follow these tips every time you work out to do your part:
- Germ-proof the exercise equipment. Most gym goers now follow the habit of wiping down the equipment after use; however, you can take the extra step to wipe the machine down with a disinfectant towel or spray prior to your workout. When you can, use your own equipment such as mats.
- Wash your hands: This may sound obvious, but by the time you get to the workout room, how many doorknobs have you touched? Washing your hands still represents one of the most efficient ways to prevent the spread of germs. Use soap and lather for 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer as well. Pick a hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60-percent alcohol, apply it to your hands, and rub until it is completely dry.
- Protect your feet in the locker room. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes, and wash and dry your feet – paying particular attention between your toes.
- Shower immediately after your workout. Shower thoroughly, dry yourself with a clean towel, and then put on clean, dry clothing.
- Wash your workout gear each time. This includes socks, sweatshirts, tights, underwear and t-shirts.
- Be conscious of your skin. If you have even a slight break in your skin, apply an antibacterial gel and a waterproof bandage to the area. If you have an open wound, do not use the Jacuzzi, whirlpool or other common equipment until it has healed thoroughly.
- Use your own personal care items and do not share them. This includes water bottles, towels, razors, soap, brushes, combs, and makeup.
- Choose your fitness club wisely. When you tour a potential gym, consider more than the cost and overall environment. Take stock of the cleanliness of the buildings and equipment. Do the machines appear clean free of sweat? Are the bathroom floors dry and clean? How do the toilets and sinks appear? Do you see janitorial staff working regularly?
Exercise promotes good health, strong bones and muscles, and balanced weight. Your fitness club should put cleanliness and hygiene high on their list of priorities, or it may be time to look for a new facility.