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As lockdowns and restrictions lift, more people will be heading back to the gym. Americans spend over $35 billion on gym memberships each year with approximately one-fifth of the population holding a gym membership. As exercisers head back to the gym and interest in home workouts declines, it will be more important than ever for gym-goers to practice good gym hygiene and etiquette. While becoming a gym-goer is a tried and tested way of keeping yourself healthy, it can also be a breeding ground for germs and bugs. The best way to avoid them: practice steadfast gym hygiene and etiquette. From regular sanitization of gym equipment to skipping the sharing of personal items, here is a quick rundown of personal hygiene must-haves for your next time in the gym.
Sanitize Equipment Before And After Using It
Did you know that over 70 percent of the bacteria found on gym equipment is harmful to your health? This was reported by Fitrated recently. It was also found that gym equipment like free weights can contain over 362 times more bacteria than toilet seats. If you are new to the gym, be sure to ask about any fitness center cleaning protocols in place and the frequency including how often gym equipment and locker rooms are disinfected. Before using gym equipment, you can also use gym wipes, towels, or sanitary wipes to clean them. Alternatively, you can use a disinfectant spray on cardio machines or bikes. Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands- both before and after your workout.
Get Yourself A Washable Gym Bag
While most people recommend washing your gym clothes immediately after using them, cleaning out the gym bag is often overlooked. Yet, your gym bag can be an ideal breeding place for germs and moisture as you store used gym clothing, towels, and shoes in it several times a week. Getting a washable gym bag means you can regularly wash it to kill any remaining germs. Ideally, washable gym bags that can be washed at temperatures above 60 degrees celsius are a good solution. For those times in between washes, you can opt to use an antibacterial spray.
Protect Your Feet
Damp conditions like lockers and shower rooms are prime spots for bacteria and fungus to grow. This can put you and your feet at risk for infections and even warts. According to The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, it is recommended that you wear flip flops or sandals in the shower and locker room while at the gym. When in the shower, always spend time washing and drying your feet. For those who do experience athlete’s foot, using anti-fungal powder after your shower can help.
Many gyms try their best to keep their environment clean, sanitary, and hygienic. However, most of the responsibility lies with you. Practicing good gym hygiene and etiquette means you can ensure you stay healthy all around, sans germs.