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Minimize your risk for getting sick at the gym

The gym can often be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria — especially if you tend to go during peak hours, or during the winter time when flu and cold season is at its peak. Here are some tips you can follow to stay as strong and healthy as possible when going to the gym or your favorite fitness spot.

Keep your distance from those who appear sick

If you hear or see a person at the gym coughing, sneezing, and sniveling, chances are they either have a cold or are coming down with some type of bug. The closer you get to that person, the higher chance you’ll have at coming into contact with or being exposed to their germs. Use equipment that is located farther away from those people, even if it results in shaking up your daily routine.

Clean equipment before and after use

Although the policy at most gyms requires patrons to clean fitness machines and equipment after use, most fail to adhere to this rule. To protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria, use the cleaning equipment provided by the gym to sanitize and clean all gym equipment before and after use.

Bring your own gym supplies

Most gyms will provide their patrons with complementary supplies for use during their workout, such as towels, mats, soap, etc. Although towels are generally washed before distribution and mats are wiped down by gym staff, bring your own gym supplies as a safety precaution. After all, you won’t always be able to guarantee that the supplies are truly clean and 100% safe for use.

Bring your own water

Some gyms supply you with fresh bottled water for your workouts, but if they don’t, make sure to bring your own water so you don’t have to drink out of the community water fountain. The community water fountain is a major breeding ground for germs, and may also not be filtered for the safest consumption. Fill up your water bottle before leaving home, and wash it out regularly to avoid bacteria growth.

Protect your feet at all times

The locker room, showers, swimming pool, and sauna areas contain germs and bacteria that can result in athlete’s foot, warts, and other nasty fungus and foot problems if you walk around barefoot. Avoid having your feet come into contact with the carpet or floor in the locker room — even if you are wearing socks, and always wear flip-flops or sandals when taking a shower or when walking to and from the pool or sauna.

Keep your gym bag clean and dry

Exposing your gym bag to wet, sweaty clothing can promote the growth of germs and bacteria. Make a habit of emptying out your gym bag as soon as you get home to ward off bacteria and prevent the bag from becoming moldy. You could even make a habit of placing your gym clothes in a separate bag, such as a grocery bag, before placing them into your actual gym bag.

By taking the necessary steps to remain clean and sanitary during your trips to the gym, the less chance you’ll have at becoming sick, and missing future workouts.

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