Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quick Tips: Practice Good Hygiene at the Gym

Going to the gym can be one of the most rewarding activities in ones life. Just about every day I go to the gym, and unlike many other gym rats I know I hardly ever get sick. Is it because I have a better immune system? No, it's because I practice safe gym hygiene. I'm by no means a germaphobe, I'm just aware of my surroundings. I don't mean to gross anybody out, but gyms are one of the most germ invested places you'll ever visit. The good news is that by practicing the few tips below you can seriously decrease your chances of catching something.

1) Bring your own water.
When you bring your own water to the gym, you are assuring the quality of the water your consuming. Filtered water is much safer than the unfiltered tap water usually found in the water fountains at the gym. Also, by using your own bottle of water you are able to avoid having to use the public fountain which can  be a breeding ground for germs. I suggest when choosing your water bottle you make sure it's not the type that requires you to pop it open by hand as you will be spreading germs from your hand onto the mouthpiece. Instead choose either a screw top bottle or a sports bottle with a built in straw.

2) Always Wipe Down Equipment Before And After Your Workout.
Even if you always see gym staff wiping down the equipment it's a good idea to do it yourself. At the gym I go to they offer sanitary wipes throughout the gym which makes it easy to quickly disinfect the equipment. I've been to other gyms however where I had to bring my own wipes. You don't necessarily need to disinfect every piece of equipment you use, just be aware when you don't that you will be in contact with germs, so don't touch your face or put anything in your mouth until you thoroughly wash your hands.

3) Use Shower Shoes
If you take a shower at the gym I highly recommend using a pair of shower shoes. A showers warm moist environment makes it the perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Athletes foot, toenail fungus, and plantar warts are some of the dreadful infections you can contract if your not protected.

4) Always Wash Your Hands
I almost always have a little snack halfway through my workout. Before I put anything near my face I give my hands a good washing. To assure you get your hands thoroughly clean make sure to use soap and rub your hands together for 20 seconds, then rinse with fresh running water. Turn off the faucet using a paper towel if possible otherwise use your elbow. Then dry your hands with a fresh paper towel or air dryer.

Going to the gym should be an enjoyable safe experience. By practicing good gym hygiene you are not only helping to protect yourself you are setting a good example that others are sure to follow.

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