A clean gym is a happy gym, and with a slew of viruses making their rounds right now, it is more important than ever for gyms to stand out above the crowd and maintain their sparkling cleanliness. However, staff members can only do so much. You should take steps yourself to make sure that you stay as healthy as possible while in the gym.
Many people wonder how they can know if the gym facilities are clean before joining. Well, you should get a tour of the facilities before you sign on the dotted line, and when you ask about the equipment and classes, be sure to also inquire about their cleaning schedule. If your gym stays on top of their cleaning schedule, they should have no problem letting you know how off-the-charts, amazing their cleaning routines are.
Did you know that free weights are likely to be 362 times dirtier than a toilet seat? Yeah, gross, right? Chuze Fitness set out on a mission to change that, but if there isn’t a Chuze Fitness near you, here are five ways to stay clean at the gym.
1. Wipe Down Equipment After Use (Even Barbells)
A gym is a place where hundreds of people flock to every day, and they are there to sweat. People are coming from trains, cars, a hard day’s work, a house full of kids, and—most of the time—they are not thinking about the things (all the things) that they are touching. So, it is your job to wipe down equipment after you use it.
We must say, our members are the best at this! They wipe down the benches and treadmills all the time, but one of the most neglected items in the gym is the porous barbell. It’s not your fault: most people don’t think about it (That’s why we’re here to remind you!). When you are lifting free weights, doing squats, or working out on one of the machines, not only should you wipe down the sweat on the seats, but you should wipe down all the places where you put your hands. (Yes, even that little knob that holds all of the weights up on the exercise machines.)
Better yet, you should wipe everything before you use them to protect yourself in case the person before you did not spray the equipment down.
This tip alone might save you a sore throat… or five. Trust us.
2. Wash Your Hands
Seriously, wash your hands before you enter the gym, after you use the restroom, and before you leave the gym. Can I say it again? Wash. Your. Hands.
We’re not just talking about protection from the common cold either. Skin diseases among athletes and gym-goers are incredibly common. Protect yourself from skin infections like athlete’s foot, herpes simplex, MRSA, and a number of other infections that can be spread through these environments.
Wash your hands before you workout so that you can get rid of any bacteria that you may have brought into the gym. You should also wash your hands after you work out so that you diminish the chance of bringing that bacteria back home with you. If you don’t feel like heading to the restroom to wash your hands, grab a pump of hand sanitizer on your way in and out of the gym.
3. Clean and Cover Open Skin
Do not touch your nose, mouth, or eyes after using equipment in the gym. This might take some practice as we’re prone to scratch an itch, or wipe sweat away, but you might just be transferring bacteria to your body. Since there are so many people using the fitness center daily, bacteria spreads very quickly. This means you should be particularly careful when you have an open wound: It is easier for bacteria to get in there and get to work.
So, before you go lifting away, throw a Band-Aid on, or ask the front desk for one. This, along with cleaning the open area before and after your workout, will protect you from getting an infection.
4. Wear Shoes in the Locker Room
Most people bring flip flops for the shower, but neglect to wear something on their feet in the rest of the locker room. This is a big no-no. You should always protect your feet!
Public showers and locker rooms, due to their damp nature, are a breeding ground for bacteria. Have you ever walked into a shower and felt a slimy patch of floor under your feet? Well, that was more than likely a biofilm. This is a spot where multiple types of microorganisms live together, and, well, you do not want that on your bare feet.
Your workout facility should be doing its best to keep the showers and floors clean, but with high-traffic all day, you need to take the precaution yourself, so bring shower shoes and wear them at all times.
5. Clean Your Workout Clothes… Often
I know the drill. Wear your clothes Monday, smell them Tuesday and if they pass the stink test, they are A-Ok to re-wear. Well, that is simply not true. Just because your clothes don’t smell like sweat it doesn’t mean that they have the green light to wear again without a washing!
Even if you are doing a low-impact workout like yoga, you still need to wash your clothes after each use. As you workout, yeast and bacteria rub off onto your clothes—especially tight clothing, like those designed for yoga.
Think about it: when you sit on a bench, use a yoga mat, or lay on the floor to do abs, you are rubbing all of those good old germs all over your clothes. These clothes then go to your home…which then go to your couch… which then go to your friends and family. This leads us to our bonus cleanliness tip.
Bonus: Change Before You Go Home
That’s right! If you go straight from work to the gym, throw those work clothes right back on when you are done. This will help with germ transfer, and it will keep you from spreading those germs outside of the gym.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you go to sweat it out. Let’s work together on keeping the gym and our homes healthy!
For more tips on staying clean, check out this awesome interview with our Denver District Manager and Fox 31 KDVR.