How to protect yourself at Gym?

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Can you imagine being told that your gym could be making you sick? It would be so frustrating given that a gym is all about getting healthy and staying fit. Yet researchers say some of the nastiest germs are hiding in different corners of your gym – and since they’re ‘invisible’ and may take a while to attack your system, you wouldn’t even know you’re already infected.

They can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, even vomiting, and even ear, skin and eye infections. And they’re everywhere in the gym.

Are you scared yet? Don’t panic. It’s easy to get rid of germs. Below is a quick list of the dirtiest places to find germs at the gym, and how to get rid of them immediately.

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1. They’re on the machines and equipment

There are germs hiding on gym equipment such as treadmills, free weights, boxing gloves, trampolines, weight machines and exercise balls. Users like you carry germs from one part of the gym to another as they swap machines and equipment. These germs can lead to colds and other dangerous infections.

How to get rid of them

Bring your own disinfectant gels to rub in your hands both before and after your workout. Or bring disinfectant wipes you can use to wipe down the equipment.

2. They’re lurking in the change rooms

Germs like staph, strep love the moist, humid locker room. They start attacking at ground level, and that’s all because of your shoes that bring in faceal matter from outside.

These germs can cause stomach flu and hepatitis A, and traces of germs that can also spread vaginal infections have been found on change room benches.

How to get rid of them

Spray disinfectant on the bench or wipe it with a disinfectant wipe before you sit. And don’t sit on the bench in the nude even after you’ve cleaned it! For the floors, bring a pair of flip-flops or Crocs with you to wear in the locker room, toilet and shower.

3. Exercise mats are covered in them

Before you roll out that exercise mat, you need to know that you’re about to stretch, strike a yoga pose, or take a group exercise class in a slew of microbes that can cause skin infections, athlete’s foot, colds, flu, and hepatitis A.

How to get rid of them

Buy your own mat and don’t share it with anyone. Clean your mat with a bleach-based wipe, or spray it with alcohol disinfectant and let it air-dry. Do this after each use.

4. They’re growing in your gym bag

The gym surfaces where you’re keeping your gym bag are covered in disease-causing microbes that cling onto the cloth. So right now, it could already be covered in staph, E. coli, salmonella and pseudomonas, which can cause eye infections.

How to get rid of them

It’s recommended that you use vinyl or plastic gym bags, as these materials make it difficult for germs and bacteria to latch onto them. This means stash your dirty clothes and shoes in a plastic bag, or use a vinyl or plastic gym bag that has separate compartments. Once you get home, just wipe your gym bag with disinfectant wipes, inside and out.

5. Germs are in your towel

If you thought a membership that offers clean towels was a bonus, then you’re wrong. Gym towels aren’t as clean as you think. For one, you don’t even know who’s washing them. You also don’t know how well they’re washing them, and how long the towels sit in the locker room.

How to get rid of them

Always bring your own gear. To reduce your risk of infection, buy some antimicrobial gym towels and use one for equipment, and a normal size one for showers. Mark each towel with an ‘x’ on one side to make sure only the marked one makes contact with equipment or locker benches. Use the unmarked towel to wipe sweat off yourself.

6. You’re drinking them too

As you sip water during your workout, germs move from the rim and into your bottle. Soon, they’ll reproduce into hundreds of thousands of bacteria sitting at the bottom of your bottle. It’s like drinking swimming pool water. Germs also sit under the pull-up spouts or built-in straws, which are both hard to clean.

How to get rid of them

Don’t use bottles that have pull-up spouts or built-in straws. Look for bottles that have wide-mouthed openings and screw caps. Wash your gym bottle daily preferably in the dishwasher or with bottle brushes, and store it in the fridge to avoid germs forming inside it.


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