Most gym-goers know the gym is not exactly the most sanitary place. It’s important to practice good hygiene etiquette and wipe down gym machines and/or equipment after each use, but that’s not always the case.
Here are some ways to avoid germs at the gym:
Bring Your Own Gear
You may think it’s inconvenient to bring your own gear, like towels, exercise balls and mats, since it’s more things to carry and/or something usually provided by the gym. But, if you want to lower your risk of contracting a fungal infection, it’s best to adopt this habit. Don’t forget to regularly sanitize your gear with an antibacterial wipe.
Drink From a Reusable Water Bottle
The water fountain is a breeding ground for germs. Norovirus is a contagious intestinal virus that can easily be spread through a communal water fountain. It’s possible to contract the virus by accidentally hitting the fountain spout with your mouth. Some people even spit in the water fountain and don’t rinse afterwards. The safest and most practical way to avoid this is by bringing a reusable water bottle that’s been filled at home. Be wary of using your hands to open the water bottle as you may transfer the germs from your hands to the cap of your bottle. It’s best to use a bottle that you can easily pull open with your mouth instead of your hands.
Routinely Disinfect Your Gym Bag and Smartphone
You rarely think twice about where your gym bag or phone has been when you’re putting it around in places like the public washroom, change room or locker. Without giving it a second thought, you get home and might place your bag or phone on your bed, your kitchen counter, or your clean bathroom. It’s a good habit to keep a bottle of disinfectant spray or wipes to clean up the surface of your gym bag and phone before bringing it in the house. This helps prevent the spread of unwanted germs collected at the gym from entering your home.
Wash Your Hands Regularly and Avoid Touching Your Face
It goes without saying that your hands are magnets for germs. The most important way to prevent the spread of germs is to avoid touching your face and washing your hands regularly. It’s easy to lose track of everything when you’re working out hard and focused on your workout. You may want to wipe some sweat off your brow, scratch your nose, or move hair away from your mouth. You don’t think about it in the moment, but you’re exposing yourself to the germs from the free weights you’ve been using or the buttons you’ve been touching on the cardio machines. It’s best to make sure you have a clean towel with you to wipe away sweat from your face when you’re on the floor, but it’s even better to go to the bathroom and wash up occasionally before getting back to it.
Wear Flip-Flops in the Shower
Washrooms at the gym are a communal house for germs. Wearing shower shoes is a great way to avoid infections like athlete’s foot. It’s also important to thoroughly dry your feet after each shower to avoid prolonged moisture as this can also cause fungal infections on your feet. You should never shave at the gym because any nick or cut can provide a passageway for germs or serious infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).