1. Keep Machines Clean
This may come as a surprise to many, but the reason for the spray bottles, disinfectants and paper towels all over the gym is not to keep the machines looking their best, but to keep you healthy and clear of gym germs. It is a common gym courtesy to wipe down the machine once you’re done using it. Unfortunately, not all of us are as courteous. For this reason, we recommend that you wipe down a machine before as well as after using it. Disinfect the areas that come in contact with your body, such as any kinds of handles and the seats of bikes.
2. Wash Your Hands
At the gym, you’ll come in contact with lots of people, both directly and indirectly, through the machines that they have touched. Wash your hands when you get to the gym. Wash your hands in between workouts. Wash your hands before leaving the gym. Then wash your hands some more. Washing your hands is the easiest way to prevent contracting infections. Make sure to use soap and get all parts of your hands including the palm, back, in between the fingers and under the nails. There is no limit to how many times you should do it. The more the merrier and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. Locker Room Hygiene
Bring your own products and materials so that you know where they have been at all times. Sharing towels or soaps is the number one way that infections are contracted in the gym. Similarly, don’t share any articles of clothing or shoes. Athlete’s foot survives on the shower floors in public gyms. Wearing flip flops when showering is the safest way to keep your feet away from fungus.
4. Avoid the Water Fountain
This is like elementary school all over again! From that time, you should already have drilled into your head just how unhygienic communal water fountains are. Even if you’re lucky enough not to have that one guy making out with the spout, the water fountain is still a source of so many germs. Bringing a disposable plastic water bottle or reusable bottle (that you’ve preferably filled at home) is a solution to keep you away from all those germs. Also, try to open and close the bottle as few times as possible, to avoid transferring germs from your hands, to the bottle and then your mouth.
5. Disinfect Regularly
Aside from washing your clothes and bringing a fresh, clean outfit with you each time you work out, pay attention to your gym bag. Think of all the places you’ve flung it around – your messy car and even the floor of the nasty locker room. Keep a bottle of disinfectant spray in the bag and give it a spritz each time you bring it back into the house. You never know what unwanted germs might have tagged along.
6. Own a Yoga Mat
When participating in a fitness class at the gym, yoga mats are generally offered to use for the lesson. Just think of all the people who have previously used it and sweat all over it. A communal yoga mat comes with the risk of contracting a fungal infection. Buying your own yoga mat is the best way to prevent this. Just don’t forget to clean it regularly!
7. Cover All Wounds
Having a minor scrape or cut should not prevent you from going to the gym. Just make sure to keep it clean and covered. On the other hand, if you’re gushing blood, it is best to sit this one out. Pay attention to your skin and any changes that may be occurring. If you do contract an infection, you may experience symptoms such as redness, swelling and pus. In this case, contact your healthcare provider immediately.