The chances are that if you’re off to the Gym, you’re health and well being are important to you. You may be at the peak of fitness, well on the way there, or just starting out on your journey, but you’re in the zone; your exercise regime is important and you’re determined to fulfil your fitness goals.
Along with exercise comes diet. It’s really important that your body gets all the nutrients it needs when you undertake any kind of exercise programme. Your Gym will instruct you if you’re struggling for ideas about how to incorporate the right kind of diet for you.
So it may never have crossed your mind that a visit to the Gym could actually be detrimental to your health. They can be a haven for bugs and germs which multiply, spread and infect under the right conditions – damp and humid – perfect!
Here are some hot spots:
Your water bottle
You may think that as it’s yours then it’s clean and sterile. But if you use your hands to open the spout, then you’re transferring germs from everything else you’ve touched around the gym environment, which will make their way into your body via your mouth. If you refill your bottle from the water cooler then try to wash your hands before or after, as the dispensing button can be a breeding ground for germs.
Crowded classes make it much easier for infection to spread. You’ll be inhaling all kinds of germs, including strains of cold and flu. Make sure you’re a few feet away from other people (particularly those who are coughing and sneezing) to minimize the risk of being infected.
The floors and wooden benches are the biggest danger when you go to relax in the steam room. Walking bare foot with even a small graze can introduce fungus and lead to minor infection, as can any broken skin coming into contact with the seats – just think how many naked people have sat there before you!
Just imagine how many people are using each and every machine in the Gym every week. Those machines (particularly the ones with handles or handle bars) could be breeding grounds for germs and bugs such as Flu, MRSA, and E. coli, all of which can make us extremely unwell. The best advice to avoid picking up bugs is to use a hand sanitizer (most gyms provide this free, via dispensers) before and after use of each machine.
The changing rooms
The first thing you want to do after your workout is take a shower. In warm, damp conditions, bacteria and germs can spread at alarming speed with the risk of fungal infections and verrucas being the most prevalent. Unless you know that your gym employs a professional commercial cleaning contractor to clean and sanitize the shower areas regularly, maybe it may be wise to think twice before stepping into the cubicle, and if you can wait then shower at home.