Well, cold temperatures are moving in and cold and flu season is almost in full effect. To prevent sore throats, sniffles, and body aches it is important to avoid the germs that cause these symptoms. Places shared by many people are often high-risk areas and the gym, as much as we wouldn’t like to admit it, is a breeding ground for germs. Often we are so focused on getting in a good workout and getting out of the gym ASAP that we forget to take certain precautions to avoid germs that cause the common cold or other potentially dangerous infections. I do not at all want to scare people out of the gym through this article (that would contradict every other article I have ever written), but I do want to make people more aware of how to protect themselves and avoid getting sick from germs they might be exposed to at the gym.
Here are 8 ways to decrease germ exposure at the gym:
1. Spray down all equipment with disinfectant spray before and after using: This might be a rule at your gym, but that doesn’t mean that all people follow these rules. Just to be sure the machine has been wiped down from its previous user; give it a good wipe down before you hop on.
2. Wear workout gloves: Especially if you use the weight machines, dumbbells, or stability balls during your workout because this equipment is rarely wiped down and used by a large number of people. Gloves will protect your hands from potential germs left on the equipment.
3. Bring your own yoga mat and towel: who knows how many people have sweat on those yoga mats at the gym before you lay down on it and as much as we would like to hope they are, the towels offered at your gym might not have been washed as thoroughly as you would like.
4. Cover cuts with Band-Aids: this includes any cracks in the skin caused by dry/cracked skin or hang nails.
5. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes while working out: If you have to push your hair off your face, use the back of your hand, which is less likely to have touched a contaminated surface.
6. Hand Sanitizer: keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag to use immediately following a workout.
7. Bring your own water bottle: decrease the possibility of germs that may be passed from the water fountain.
8. Shower immediately after working out: this will get rid of germs right away and wear sandals in the shower to avoid being exposed to athlete’s foot.
Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information about reducing exposure to germs through the cold and flu season.
Michelle Roots BA KIN, CSCS, PES