How to protect yourself from bacteria at the gym

What to look out for and what you can do to stay safe

The gym is generally good for health, but without good hygiene, you can catch germs or bacteria, says an expert.

“Good hygiene prevents illnesses like colds, flu and even salmonella, but cleanliness can also indicate that the gym is well maintained as a whole, including the quality of the equipment,” said Melanie McNeil, director of physical and occupational therapy at Baylor College of Medicine. Houston.

“If hygiene is not followed, you can get sick, make others sick or lose your membership,” he said.

What to pay attention to in the gym

Here are a few things that can help you understand how much they care about hygiene when you first visit a gym:

  • If there are no wipes to clean the equipment after use, it may mean that the equipment has invisible bacteria.
  • Not having signs asking members to clean the equipment after use or posting a cleaning schedule indicates that cleanliness is not a priority for the gym.
  • If you see people using the equipment without cleaning it afterwards, this may indicate a lack of cleanliness culture.
  • Dust on the equipment may indicate that the cleaning period of the equipment is delayed.
  • Long-term breakdown/malfunctioning of many machines may be due to lack of interest on the part of the gym management.

What you can do to stay safe

  • Wear clean clothes when you exercise. Worn-out clothes collect sweat and other bacteria that can cause bad odor and even spread to gym members.
  • When approaching the equipment, check that it is clean.
  • If you see liquid chemical cleaner residue on any countertops or other equipment, allow it to dry on its own. This residue indicates that the time needed to kill all the bacteria has not passed.
  • After you’re done exercising, take a wet wipe or paper towel dampened with a liquid cleaning solution and wipe off any areas where your skin has come in contact with the equipment or where sweat has dripped. Avoid spraying the equipment itself with chemical solutions, as excessive moisture can cause damage.
  • If you choose to shower, McNeal recommends always wearing flip-flops or other shoes that don’t allow your feet to touch the floor, as these environments are breeding grounds for mold, fungus and bacteria that can infect your feet.
  • If you have any concerns, please let them know. Ask for information about the cleaning schedule. Finally, leave the equipment as you would like to find it.

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