You go to the gym to maintain and improve your health, right? Yes. It’s an envigorating and enthusiastic atmosphere. But there are also a lot of germs flying around, so it’s best to take precautions to help avoid getting sick.
Clean off equipment: Our gym equipment is cleaned on a regular basis, but it’s still a good idea to play it safe. Before and after you use equipment, especially cardio machines, wipe it off with cleaning supplies provided.
Wash your hands: This is a big one. Washing your hands with soap and water helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Wash your hands before and after your workout. Avoid touching your face or eating before washing your hands.
A-choo!: When you sneeze, keep it to yourself by directing it into your elbow/upper arm area instead of all over the equipment or in someone’s face. The rule of thumb is: if you’re sick from the neck up without a fever, it’s generally okay to work out. It’s best to stay home if you’re sick from the neck down, with coughing, chills, diarrhea, and weakness. That’s what can benefit your health. But to benefit your fellow gym patrons, my advice is to stay home, period, until you feel better.
Watch the feet: Avoid walking around the facility bare-footed. If you use the locker room/pool facilities, it might be a good idea to wear flip-flops or similar bathing footwear to protect your feet from germs and fungus that could lead to issues such as athlete’s foot. But beware! Wearing flip-flops can also be risky when walking on a wet surface. While on vacation one year, my husband slipped and fell in the shower while wearing flip-flops, breaking a rib in the process.
Change out of your gym clothes: Sweaty clothes are great places for bacteria to grow. As soon as possible after your workout, change into some clean clothes and take a shower. Keep a plastic bag for dirty clothes in your gym bag, and separate them from any clean clothes you bring.
Bring your own towel and mat: You might want to bring a towel from home to sit or lie down on when using gym equipment. There are also mats you can buy that help prevent bacterial growth.
Paranoia isn’t necessary; just common sense. Take simple precautions to ensure a safe, healthy, and rewarding gym experience.