Germs–they’re everywhere! Sometimes it feels like you can’t escape them. There are train germs, bathroom germs, and even gym germs. However, you shouldn’t forego your gym workout because of potential contact with bacteria, especially when joining a gym has so many benefits. Keep reading to learn how to fight cooties.
Here are 12 tips you need to avoid gym germs:
- Clean your equipment before and after your workout. You may see staff members and fellow gym-mates cleaning equipment in between workouts, and you should do the same. Use communal cleaning spray bottles and wipes to spray down gym equipment before and after use, including:
- Yoga/stretching mats
- Cardio and weight machines
- Don’t walk around barefoot in the locker room. While there’s no greater feeling than kicking off your sneakers after a good sweat session, it never hurts to give your little piggies some wiggle room. Relive your college dorm days– wear flip flops in the locker room, especially when you’re in the shower.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Try not to touch your mouth, nose, ears, etc. during your workout. You don’t want to be the one responsible for getting your gym mates sick. On the off-chance that you touch a “contaminated” surface, be sure to wash your hands after you’re finished with your workout.
- Wash your hands when you use the restroom. We’re just going to leave it at that…
- Bring your own hand sanitizer. Note: this is not an excuse to skip out on washing your hands. But it certainly can’t hurt to have some on hand. Pun intended.
- Put band-aids on boo-boos. External cuts and wounds are vulnerable to germ exposure, and they can spread their own germs, too. Have you recently shaved or waxed? Certain methods of hair removal create tiny wounds on the skin’s surface that may not be visible to the naked eye. It’s best to wait for them to heal for a minimum of 24 hours before resuming your regular workout routine.
- Sharing is not always caring. You and your workout buddies may be in the habit of sharing motivational and exercise tips. And that’s okay. What’s not okay? Sharing deodorant or exercise equipment that has been in contact with another person’s germs.
- Always take a shower after your workout.Yes, even if you didn’t break a sweat. First off, if you didn’t sweat, you probably didn’t push yourself hard enough. But that’s a topic for another day. Showering after hitting your calories burned target is not only a great way to reward yourself, it’s also a way to cleanse your skin of bacteria released while sweating.
Working out safely doesn’t stop when you leave the gym. You should wash everything you bring to and from the gym, too.
- Wash your water bottle after every use. Whether it’s been sitting in the cupholder of a cardio machine or on the gym floor, your water bottle has probably come into contact with a lot of gym germs. Make sure to wash your favorite water bottle with warm, soapy water daily. If possible, you can even put it on the top rack of your dishwasher, open side down.
- Separate used gym clothes from other items in your gym bag. No one wants to look like the crazy bag lady carrying tons of totes to and from the gym. Store post-workout clothes in a plastic bag inside your main gym bag. Just don’t forget to take them out of the plastic bag when you get home– keeping sweaty clothes contained prevents them from drying, which can breed additional bacteria.
- Wash your gym clothes after each workout. We know how dreadful laundry day can be. Yet, annoying rashes and breakouts can result from reusing your (dirty) favorite yoga pants. Plan ahead, and make sure your workout wardrobe can carry you through multiple workouts throughout the week.
- Wipe down and/or wash your gym bag at least once a week. Vinyl or plastic gym bags are pretty easy to wipe down with antibacterial cleaning wipes. If you have a fabric duffle bag or tote, double check your bag’s cleaning instructions. If it can withstand it, throw your bag into the wash, ideally on a hot water setting. Afterwards, put your bag in the dryer on a medium/high heat setting.
With all of this said, don’t let a few gym germs scare you from working out at the gym. Working out is still extremely good for you! Put your mind at ease by checking out Boost Fitness–for free.