Although gyms are generally considered a location you go to to improve your health, they can also pose a risk to your health if not approached with some caution in mind.
Germs. Gym germs.
Although it makes for a catchy title, gym germs are not something to take lightly. The high-usage, damp environment provided by gyms and locker rooms offer a prime location for the growth of a wide variety of pathogens, including some very serious ones.
Here’s what you need to know and how you can keep yourself safe:
4 Common Gym Germs
- COLI: This gross bacteria is primarily found in the intestines and stool of animals, and can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and in extreme cases, kidney failure.
- STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS: Staph infections are a common gym germ, and can cause a variety of symptoms. The most severe version of this infection is, of course, the infamous MRSA – an antibiotic-resistant strain of this virus that has made headlines in recent years for its sometimes devastating effect on young athletes.
- CANDIDA: Candida is commonly the culprit behind a variety of fungal infections including ringworm, jock itch, yeast infections, and athlete’s foot.
- STREPTOCOCCAL BACTERIA: There are more than 20 types of “strep” bacteria. Symptoms can range from the well-known “strep throat” to pneumonia.
5 Places Gym Germs Hang Out
- The Floor – One major culprit in transmitting gym germs is the floor. Almost everything touches it – exercise mats, weights, loose shoe strings, gym bags, you name it. Because all of those things are moved by hand, gym germs can easily transfer from the floor to hands, face, and mouth.
- The Weights – Although it’s common practice at gyms to wipe down cardio equipment (so much sweat!), often weight equipment gets overlooked. Think of hand weights or the level used to change the weight stack or amount – everyone touches these items, but they are infrequently cleaned.
- The Pool – A little unsettling to think about, but if the pool hasn’t been properly cared for, you could be quite literally swimming in germs. One indicator of its cleanliness is the scent – generally speaking, the more chlorine you smell, the germier it is – when chlorine reacts with pathogens, it heightens that distinct “pool” smell.
- The Shower – Like the floor and the pool, the shower is a particular hotbed for gym germs. Strep and staph are particularly drawn to these hot, humid environments.
- The Water Fountain – Touch contact with all the above hotspots can – and does – get transferred easily to a water fountain nozzle, and from there it’s just a short trip to the mouth.
6 Ways to Beat Gym Germs
- Take advantage of antibacterial wipes where they are present- and, if possible, allow the surface to air dry after it’s been wiped down and before you use it.
- Bring your full water bottle to the gym to avoid water fountain germs. If you need to fill or refill once you’re there, use a towel to activate the nozzle, rather than touching it with your hands.
- Be sure to wash your hands before and after every workout, and ideally between use of machines. Try to avoid touching your face, mouth, or water bottle nozzle with unwashed hands.
- Don’t walk around barefoot – As mentioned before, the floor is a major breeding ground for pathogens. Protect yourself by bringing flip-flops for the shower and locker room.
- Bring your own exercise mat and be sure to clean it after use – top and bottom – to avoid transferring those multiplicitous floor germs.
Don’t be satisfied with a locker room that just “looks” or “smells” clean – get the info! Ask about cleaning policies and encourage your athletic club to invest in high-quality antimicrobial technology like Surface Shield.
Surface Shield doesn’t just clean treated areas – it protects them from becoming a harbor for pathogens by forming an antimicrobial shield. This technology can protect gym surfaces (including mats, hard surfaces, light switches, high-moisture contact areas, seat covers, and more) for up to 90 days. Perfect for the excessive use gyms experience.
Ensure a healthful, thriving gym for you and your family. Contact us today.
Tags: anti-microbials, antimicrobial, Athletic Club, Bacteria, Candida, cleaning, deep cleaning, germs, Gym Mat, Health Club, illness, MRSA, schools, sickness, skin, skin infections, Strep, surface shield, surface shield llc, wrestling mats