The gym is full of unwashed machines and benches that can get you sick when you’re trying to be healthy. Don’t be scared of the gym, just be prepared to stay healthy while getting yourself in shape!
Wipe Down Stuff (double rag system)
Of course you know to grab a rag when you first come into the gym and to spray down equipment before and after using it, but are you using the same rag to wipe down machinery that you are using as a sweat rag?
There’s a slew of things festering on gym equipment that could give you a parasite, a crazy rash, or even HPV! Taking two towels when you come into the gym, using one to wipe down before and after you use the equipment, and the other for your face, will take care of some of those nasty bugs hiding out in the rough grips of the squat bar that have fed on the mix of sweat and human skin grated into there.
Wiping things down is a must, and grabbing two rags is a definite skin saver. Why wipe all that staph off the machine only to wipe it on your forehead when you start to sprinkler sweat?
Shoes in the Shower
You were just in the pool shoeless, why should you slip on your slides to head to the steam room or shower?
Because there might be a forest of fungi hanging out on that bathroom floor. The chlorine and other chemicals in the pool kill most of the germs when you’re doing laps, but the sitting water in the warm shower floor is the perfect breeding ground for foot fungus. A pair of slides is a must have if you want to hang out in the steam room or shower before going to work.
Reduce the Smell. Don’t Carry Stank With You.
Gym bags can get stanky, especially if you leave your stinky gym clothes in there. Choosing the right gym clothes, the right gym bag, and washing your gear on a semi-regular basis can help you reduce some of the smell.
Athleisure is great, it allows you to wear your favorite workout leggings out and about during the day, but some athleisure clothes aren’t designed to work up a sweat in. Those cotton leggings are comfortable and go great with sneakers and a puffy vest, but will hold onto your sweat and fester in your bag all day. If you don’t want a plume of sweat-and-mold smell to crawl out of your bag, choose fabrics that won’t hold onto odors, or put your gym clothes in a waterproof bag during the day so it doesn’t release the smell until you’re ready.
You should wash your running shoes and gym bag every couple months and refresh them often by putting tea bags or dryer sheets in your bag or shoes. No one wants to smell your gym bag during their work day or get in your car after your gym bag has been soaking in the sun and growing gosh knows what.
Wipe Down Yoga Mats/Balls/Literally Everything
You’ve got both of your rags, you wipe down the weights, the machines, and the benches, but you could be missing out on some of the bacterial hotbeds in the gym. The yoga mats you use in classes or the exercise balls might be hard to clean off, but they still need to be washed down. Yoga mats, exercise balls, and group equipment can be some of the least commonly cleaned items in the gym (because people don’t think about it as much).
Maybe Don’t Use The Drinking Fountain
Those drinking fountains with the easy to use water bottle option are great. Not only are they more convenient, but you can rest assured with relative certainty that no one actively stuck their mouth on it. Regular drinking fountains can be grotesque to watch, people will stick their full mouth onto the faucet. The things people do to water fountains with their mouths and spit can be pretty disgusting, using a water fountain made specifically for bottles can be safer.
The gym can be gross. Stay healthy and stay well. Wipe down everything you touch, chuck some slides on in the shower, and be careful which drinking fountains you use. Staying healthy isn’t that hard, don’t let a gym bug keep you away from your goals.