Prevent Infections at the Fitness Center

May, 2014 by Alma Abell

The purpose of going to a fitness center is to get fit, not sick. However, you can be unconsciously exposing yourself to infections when you use free weights, dumbbells, stationary bikes, yoga mats and other equipment.

Although it’s possible to end up with athlete’s foot, jock itch or ringworm, you’re more likely to end up with an upper respiratory tract infection. Although you can catch a cold or the flu from other public places, the gym is a place where your chances of contacting staph are greatly elevated. This is particularly true if your sport is contact related or you share equipment. Staph can be a real problem since it is immune to a lot of antibiotics.

This is not meant to scare you off. Maintaining fitness is important and just because the fitness center or the gym can increase your chances of picking up an infection; it doesn’t have to. Make sure that you use the antibacterial wipes at fitness center that are generously provided and follow a few simple tips which will help safeguard your health.

Keep your hands clean. When dealing with sweat, common sense tells you to wash it off. During your time at the fitness center, use alcohol as you move from one piece of equipment to the next to disinfect and dry your hands. At the end of your session, wash your hands vigorously for a good 20 seconds with hot water and soap. It’s important to do this before you clean your face or comb your hair or eat a snack.

Don’t share equipment. Of course this does not mean you have to bring your own free weights, but if you do yoga, bring your own mat. If boxing is your exercise, use your own hand wraps and gloves. Absolutely never share towels or razors that belong to others. If boxing is your thing and you use gloves owned by the fitness center, wear latex gloves for protection from any germs that are in the glove.

Wipe the machines. Use fitness center wipes before and after you use a machine. It is not enough to just wipe the machine with a towel; this will not kill bacteria that spread quickly due to sweat or other bodily fluids.

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