read Do You Follow These Hygiene Habits at the Gym?

Do You Follow These Hygiene Habits at the Gym?

gym hygiene practice

It is reasonable to have health concerns associated with poor hygiene practices in gyms. A gym can be a great place to workout, but it can also be a hotbed for infections if good hygiene is not maintained. Let’s find out about some common infections that spread from gyms and how best to avoid them.   

Common infectious microorganisms encountered due to improper gym hygiene

Staphylococcus bacteria: Staphylococcus bacteria is capable of surviving on machines, mats, weights, towels, and benches. These germs generally cause skin infections, pimples or boils, which are very painful. They are also known to cause pneumonia and food poisoning.

Dermatophytes fungi: Dermatophytes is a group of fungi that is responsible for causing athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. These fungi thrive in dark and moist environments.

Human papillomavirus: This virus causes plantar warts or growths that occur on the heels or balls of feet. It is found in moist, wet environments and may be contracted by walking barefoot in the gym and shower areas.

What are some some good hygiene habits you should practice in a gym?

A few simple habits can go a long way to safeguard you and your gym mates from contracting infections. 

Wash your hands

Make sure you wash your hands pre-and post-workout for a minimum of 20 seconds with antibacterial soap. If you cannot wash your hands, use a sanitizer with 70% alcohol.

Also read: Washing Hands: When and How to Do It Right

Wipe equipment

Germs can live on moist gym equipment for a long time. Always use antibacterial wipes and sprays to wipe the sweat off the equipment after use. This will help stop the spread of infections. 

Don’t touch your face

To prevent breakouts and infections, avoid touching your face while using gym equipment. Never wipe off the sweat from your face with your hand. Use a clean, dry towel instead.

Take a shower 

After your workout, don’t delay taking a shower. Bacteria thrive in damp and sweaty clothes and clog skin pores. Instead, wash your face, shower, and change into fresh, dry clothes as soon as possible.

Wear proper gym apparel

Moisture-wicking clothes, made of fabrics that help sweat evaporate faster, can lower the risk of fungal or bacterial skin infections. 

Never walk barefoot in gyms

Bathrooms and locker rooms at the gym are moist and damp places that harbor all kinds of germs. To avoid coming in contact with fungal and virus infections like warts, never walk barefoot in these places. Instead, wear flip-flops, and wash and dry your feet thoroughly. If you are susceptible to fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, use antifungal powder.

Don’t share edibles or personal items

It is best to carry your own water bottle and snacks. To avoid the spread of bacteria, fungi and other germs, never share your personal care items such as hairbrushes, roll-on deodorants, towels, and water bottles with others. 

Clean your kit

Clean your gym kit regularly; avoid letting it unclean equipment lie around for days. Always use a plastic bag to put used items such as shoes, mats, and other personal equipment.  Wipe and store them in a cool and dry place. 

Go light on make-up

Makeup and sweat can cause clogged pores, which lead to skin breakouts. Avoid weakening makeup while working out. If you really want to wear makeup, use mineral-based products that do not clog the pores and will allow your skin to breathe.

Take sick days off

If you have a cold or are feeling unwell, then take a day off as you do not want to spread the infection.

While you should follow these basic hygiene habits, it is also essential that your gym personnel also follow appropriate cleanliness practices. Before you decide to join a gym,  check if they have and implement proper hygiene guidelines and protocols. Although working out is important and a gym is a great place for pumping iron and staying in shape, healthy habits are equally important to steer clear of avoidable health problems along the way. 

References
1. Good Hygiene Habits at the Gym. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/safe-workout-tips (accessed Mar 8, 2021).
2. Cassata C. Germs at the Gym: How to Work Out Without Worry. Healthline 2019; published online Dec 29. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/poor-gym-habits-and-the-germs-they-carry (accessed Mar 8, 2021).
3. Top Gym Pet Peeves. Treadmill Reviews. https://www.treadmillreviews.net/gym-etiquette/ (accessed Mar 8, 2021).
4. SportsShoes. Top 10 Gym Hygiene Tips & Rules. Sportsshoes.com. 2017; published online Sep 7. https://www.sportsshoes.com/gym/expert-advice/health-wellbeing/top-10-gym-hygiene-tips-rules (accessed Mar 8, 2021).

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