Gym Hygiene Tips from Biomaster
The fitness industry in the UK is booming, with over 9 million of us now signed up with a gym or health club, according to an industry report.
A regular workout can do wonders for our health but, as with many high traffic areas, gym equipment can harbour all kinds of bacteria which can pose a possibility of spreading infections.
Those of us with sturdy immune systems probably won’t find ourselves affected by these bacteria, but vulnerable people or those with underlying health issues should take extra care to minimise the risk of catching a nasty bug.
Read on for 10 tips from Biomaster for practicing good hygiene in the gym:
1. Wash your hands
Practicing good hand hygiene is probably the most important way of reducing bacteria spreading. Washing your hands before and after working out can help make your gym session that bit more hygienic – after all, you don’t know who was last to use those free weights.
2. Use a plaster
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most common bacteria to be found on gym equipment. Some of us carry this and its antibiotic resistant strain MRSA without any issue but for others it can cause serious infection so make sure you cover up any cuts or broken skin with a plaster or a bandage.
3. Wipe down your equipment
Wiping down before and after you use any equipment isn’t just good gym etiquette. Getting rid of the perspiration on surfaces can help to reduce the transmission of MRSA or fungal infections. Just make sure you use a separate towel for wiping your face.
4. Hygienic hydration
Rather than drinking directly from the communal water fountain, invest in a BPA-free, refillable water bottle and wash thoroughly between gym trips. Avoid bottles with a spout you have to pull up and opt for a screw cap instead to help stop your hands transferring bacteria. Don't forgot to wash out your protein shaker too.
5. Hands off your face
Your eyes, mouth and nose are all high risk pathways for contracting bugs. If your hands are touching dirty equipment and then touching sensitive areas on your face you may be at risk of spreading infectious bacteria.
6. Don’t go barefoot in communal areas
Fungal infections can be rife in shared areas like changing rooms and showers so make sure you wear something on your feet so you don’t catch an infection like Athlete’s foot.
7. Don’t share personal items
Avoid sharing towels, water bottles or even earphones as these could potentially be carriers for Staphylococcus aureus.
8. Separate your kit…
After you’ve changed out of your gym kit or used your towel, keep them in a plastic bag inside your gym bag to stop any bacteria transferring onto the inside of your bag or to other clothes.
9. …then wash it
To stop that dreaded old gym kit smell, make sure you wash your used clothes and towels as soon as you can. Don’t forget to air out your trainers too as these can build up odour causing bacteria and fungus.
Silver ion technology can incorporated into any textile to make it more hygienic and reduce bad odours. It can also be applied as a laundry wash, helping gym clothes smell fresh for much longer.
10. Have a rest day
Finally, if you’re ill with a cold or the flu then it’s probably best to avoid the gym and stay at home to rest up. Your body will thank you for the rest and your fellow gym-goers will appreciate not catching your cold.