The gym is supposed to be a clean place where you can safely strive for optimal health and physical development. However, whenever you are around other people you can be exposed to all sorts of germs and bacteria, which in turn can make you sick... unless you know how to avoid them! Here are 7 easy steps to avoiding illness at the gym.
1. Check out the Gym before You Join
Before you sign on with a particular gym, take a tour. Make sure it is well kept and sanitary. If you have questions, ask the employees how they sanitize their equipment. If the gym or the equipment is visibly dirty, join another gym. Be sure to check the locker rooms, too!
2. No Bare Feet
Make sure your feet are covered when walking in public places. Busy gyms serve many clients every day, some of which may be ill and leaving germs in their wake. Covering your feet protects your body from germs others leave behind. Buy a pair of cheap rubber flip-flops and wear them in the locker room and especially in the shower.
3. Use a Band-aid
Keep all open wounds covered when you are in public, including at the gym, to prevent bacteria from entering your body.
Carry sanitary wipes with you. Thoroughly sanitize all the surfaces you will be having contact with. Even though the gym may have cleaned everything, it is always a good idea follow up with your own sanitizing. Do it before you use any equipment, then after, as a courtesy to the other users.
5. Don’t Share Stuff
Avoid sharing personal products like soap or deodorant. Anything that goes on your body should not be shared. This habit cuts down the risk of infection. And don't use anything in the shower that's provided for public use, like shampoo or soap.
6. No Touching
Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth, etc., while you are working out. Actually this is a good rule to follow anytime you are in public: do not touch your face. The face is where the most germs are introduced to the body and the main avenue for becoming ill.
7. No Sharing Water
Bring your own water bottle for working out. Never share your bottle with anyone. Many illnesses are spread by sharing beverages. The common cold is the number one illness spread by sharing drinks. Protect yourself by saying “no” if someone asks to borrow your stuff. It is okay to put yourself first when it comes to your health. Also, avoid using the water fountain!
We would all like to be in optimal physical condition. To achieve peak condition it takes a lot of work and dedication at a gym or at home. Make sure that no matter where you work out that you take precautions to prevent illness. Are you careful about germ prevention when you use tanning beds, share gym space or use common access equipment? How do you avoid illness at the gym?
Top Photo Credit: United Way Ballarat