If you’ve ever been grossed out at the gym, chances are, you’re very interested in gym hygiene tips. Well, my dear, as someone who’s been grossed out at the gym more than once, I have quite a bit of experience with gym hygiene, and I have some tips from my family doctor and my personal trainer to share. Here are 9 gym hygiene tips to observe to keep the germs away.
1. Wash after Going
Having gotten pink eye at the gym once, I now know this gym hygiene tip: always, always wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done at the gym. Use lots of warm water and a good soap, and scrub for as long as it takes you to sing “happy birthday.”
2. Wash before and after Use!
Also, heed this gym hygiene tip: wipe down the equipment before and after you use it. If everyone wiped down AFTER, no-one would need to wipe down BEFORE… but alas, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen someone walk away from a piece of equipment, dripping in sweat, without wiping it down. Eww!
3. Bring a Towel
Some gyms provide cloths or paper towels to wipe down equipment, but some don’t, so bring a towel from home. Another good reason to bring a spare towel? To wipe your face… you don’t want to touch the equipment, then touch your face to wipe sweat away, then touch the equipment again. That’s a good way to spread germs.
4. Bring Your Flip-flops
I have never, ever seen a gym shower that met my own OCD standards for cleanliness, so I also want to mention this gym hygiene tip: bring your own rubber flip-flops for use in the shower. And throw them in the washer every week or so. What’s the risk? A nasty case of athlete’s foot.
5. Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Gym water fountains are little breeding grounds for the nastiest of germs. Even though my gym has a sign that specifically asks patrons not to spit in the fountain, some dirty jerks do anyway, so it’s best to bring your own water bottle, rather than use the potentially filthy water fountain.
6. Take It All Home
As tempting as it may be to leave your gym clothes and trainers and towels at the gym, here’s another gym hygiene tip to heed: take it all home and wash it, frequently. Wouldn’t you rather risk pilling your favorite tank over breeding icky-smelling germs?
There’s a reason they make those little anti-bacterial liquids in tin containers with a carabineer clip: to attach to your gym bag. If you can’t make it immediately to a sink after your workout, then at least use a good dollop of that stuff… keep it with you at all times, and use it when you have to.
8. Report It
What should you do if you stumble upon a cesspool in the shower, or a sticky-icky mess in the sauna? Report it to gym staff immediately. Most gyms covet their patrons and will do anything to keep us happy… that should include keeping the gym clean and as germ-free as possible. Chances are, they don’t know about the mess yet, or they’d have addressed it already. If the gym continues to be dirty though, it’s time to find a new gym!
9. Stay Home, Sticko!
You shouldn’t be working out if you’re sick anyway, but here’s a gym hygiene tip that is still worthwhile: if you’re sick, please stay home! Cold, flu, pink eye — keep your germs to yourself… please! And come back to gym when you’re feeling better… and not contagious.
While some of you may be considering never going into the gym again, I hope the rest of you are prepared now to combat the germs we didn’t even know were out there… lurking… in the oddest and yet sweatiest of places. Have you had a bad gym-germ experience? Or do you have any other gym hygiene tips to share? Please do!
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