Gym Germs: Mats are a Hot Spot for Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. One way to do that is to hit the gym to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, relieve stress, improve self-confidence, and alleviate anxiety.

But you can pick up some other things at the gym too.

A recent University of California-Irvine study found that staphylococcus bacteria (staph infection) could survive on hard surfaces – like gym equipment and benches – even after being sanitized. Staph bacteria is easily spread through cuts and abrasions and may cause disease due to direct infection or the production of toxins by the bacteria. Some examples of a staph infection? Boils, impetigo, food poisoning, and cellulitis.  

Are Gym Germs Present at your Workout Facility?

The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reported that 63 percent of gym machines harbored traces of rhinovirus, the virus responsible for the common cold. There’s also foot fungus and the virus that causes plantar warts in the locker room and water fountains are almost always dirtier than toilets.

How about gym mats? Or yoga mats?

According to this article, exercise mats rank high on the gym germ meter and are considered a hot spot for infections. Doing sit-ups on a group exercise mat or downward dog on a yoga mat may mean you’re touching or lying on a slew of microbes that may cause skin infections, athlete’s foot, colds and flu, and hepatitis A.   

How can you protect yourself?

Bring your own mat, don’t share it, and after each use, clean it very, very well.

You can also talk to your gym about how and when they’re cleaning gym equipment and mats. Are they being aggressive about cleanliness? Surface Shield can help. Ask your gym to connect with us to evaluate their cleaning processes and offer up some help.  

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