When we want a boost to our health and wellbeing, one of the first things we think about is changing our diet, and getting some exercise. We clear out the fridge, shop for only healthy and nutritious foods, and then trawl the internet for the best Gym deals we can find.
Once you’re signed up, the hard work is underway and the pounds start to fall off you’ll probably be feeling like a million dollars. Not only are you looking healthy, but you’re starting to feel the benefits from the inside out!
But did it ever occur to you that a visit to your local gym could potentially be detrimental to your health? With damp and humid atmospheres come a multitude of germs and bugs which can spread at an alarming rate if not kept in check! These germ ‘hotspots’ are vast and many, and in cold and flu season are more infectious than usual. So the next time you’re in the gym, beware of the following:
Busy and crowded exercise classes make infection much easier to spread. Making sure you stand a few feet away from any coughers and sneezers will reduce the risk of being infected, but bear in mind that these viruses are airborne – if you’re susceptible then you’re likely to catch them, no matter how far away you are from the host!
Just try and imagine how many people use each machine, each piece of equipment each and every day. Those machines with handles or handle bars are breeding grounds for germs and viruses such as Flu and E.coli because of the contact with unwashed hands, and both of these can make us extremely poorly. To limit the risk, use a hand sanitiser before and after use. Some gyms will provide this free via dispensers, but if not keep a bottle in your gym bag.
You may bring your own water bottle with you, or buy from a vending machine, but if you think it’s clean – think again. You’ll transfer germs from everything you’ve touched around the gym to your bottle. Opening the lid can see those germs transferred into your body via the spout, and if you’re refilling from the gym water cooler be sure to wash your hands after (or use your sanitiser) as the dispensing button is a haven for all kinds of nasty bugs!
Steam Rooms and Saunas
Wooden benches and flooring are the biggest danger hot spots when it comes to germs. Minor infections can be introduced into the smallest of grazes on your feet, or any broken skin that comes into contact with the seating or floor. The hot and damp atmosphere in these rooms lets germs breed at a much accelerated rate.
Taking a shower is the first thing you’ll do when you finish your workout. As with steam rooms, the warm damp atmosphere will encourage bacteria to multiply and spread at an alarming rate. Infections such as verrucae and fungal foot infection are the most common, but so long as your gym employs a professional commercial cleaning contractor who clean and sanitise the shower cubicles regularly, then the risk of spread can be reduced. If you’re not convinced it may be wise to shower at home!