You go to the gym to do something good for yourself, right? Whether you have a goal of training for something like your first 5K -- or if you simply want to stay in shape, the last thing you probably think about is the gym making you sick. However, going to the gym can introduce a host of variables that can negatively impact your health. When you take the right precautions, it won't -- so let's explore how you can steer clear of those germs while you focus on feeling great.
How Your Gym Can Make You Sick
Most of the time, you probably think about getting a cold or the flu when you are out and about in public places. While there is still that possibility when you go to the gym, there is also an added layer of risk. The germ-laden exercise equipment, sweaty clothes and wet towels that are the hallmark of every workout alsohave the makings of a fungal infection written all over them. And nobody wants that.
Good Gym Hygiene Habits to Follow
- Wash your hands frequently
Make sure you wash your hands every time you work out -- both before you get started and afterwards. Use plenty of soap and water to work it up to a lather. Rinse thoroughly and dry well using a clean towel, or simply air dry.
- Use alcohol-based sanitizer
If you are in a situation where soap and water aren't available, use a sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. For best results, place some sanitizer in your palm before rubbing your hands vigorously together. Continuing doing so, covering all skin surfaces, until the sanitizer is completely dry.
- Clean the equipment
Of course, your gym cleans its equipment regularly, but that doesn't mean that you are the first one to use it each time. Bring disinfectant wipes or spray with you and wipe down all the places your bare skin touches. When you're finished, pay it forward by wiping down the equipment for the next person, too.
- Coddle your toes
Always wear some type of covering on your feet when you're at the gym. Flip flops, water shoes and athletic shoes all provide a barrier between your feet and the germs that live on the gym floor.
- Shower frequently
Make showering immediately after your workout a top priority. The longer you stay in sweaty clothing, the more opportunity bacteria have to multiply. Be sure to pay special attention to your feet by washing and drying them thoroughly with a clean, dry towel. Get dressed in clothes that are also clean and dry.
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