Swabbing equipment handle bars and examining collected specimens under microscopes might bring gym germ grossness closer to the forefront of our minds; but will it prevent us from working out at health clubs?
For most fitness club members the answer is a definite no and there are good reasons why this answer is understandable including the fact that most people do not have exercise equipment at home and many people need to get out of the house in order to force themselves to stick to their workout routines.
No matter what response one gives to the gym germ and avoidance issue, the facts are, we all collect and spread germs, they don’t need our permission to attach themselves to or release themselves from us, and we will undoubtedly continue to aid their ability to survive every time we touch a thing and then touch another thing and then touch another thing. Even more still, we will continue to do what germs like most-touch things and then touch our faces, eyes, noses and mouths; and of course, we will most likely continue to allow germs to latch on to us simply by walking on them with our bare feet.
Exercisers don’t have to give in to germs so easily however. We can fight the little buggers by wiping down exercise equipment before and after using it. Since most all equipment has some sort of bar that must be handled or buttons that must be pressed in order to operate it, wiping equipment in advance protects users from germs left by previous exercisers and wiping them after completing routines protects the next guy or gal.
We can avoid touching things we don’t need to touch – for instance many of us may not need to touch doors that can be pushed with a clothed part of our bodies and we may not need to touch handrails when going up or down stairs.
Wearing gloves can help protect us – although some athletic gloves have finger holes that allow for aeration, wearing them helps to keep germ levels at lower degrees than not wearing them because major portions of gloved hands are covered.
Weightlifters – aside from gloves take gear such as abdominal straps, lifting straps, triceps ropes and bar pads to the gym with you. Having your own gear assures you won’t have to touch some of the millions of germs on gear touched by sweaty palms before you.
Hand towels – arriving at a gym without a hand towel is like arriving at a beach without a swimsuit. Problem with towels is we put them down while we workout; and where do we put them – on exercise equipment full of germs – or even worse – the floor full of germs that may be growing on unsanitary carpeting.
A good thing to do in order to prevent wiping germs allover our faces and necks when removing sweat is pay attention to whether we use our towel’s tag side or untagged side. Handling sweat cloths on tagged sides and wiping our skin with untagged sides or vice versa allows us to avoid smearing germs allover ourselves after laying our towels on equipment, mats and floors.
Anyone who has trouble remembering or noticing which side of the cloth he/she used to wipe their sweat can buy two-toned towels or two different colored towels and sew them together one atop the other.
Sitting and lying down – Putting our bodies, particularly unclothed portions of our bodies, on places others have sat or laid is a good way to subject ourselves to potentially harmful germs. We can avoid these lingering germs by using the clean sides of our towels for our body parts when sitting or lying where others have been.
Wearing waterproof sandals or flip flops in locker rooms, shower stalls, areas surrounding spas and pools and in saunas can keep us from contracting germs in these areas which, in addition to germs previously mentioned, includes athletes’ feet causing fungus.
Oh… By the way… Some germs we may come in contact with at gyms include streptococcus related disease causing bacteria; staphylococcus that includes relatively harmless bacterial strains “and” pathogenic strains that may have evolved to near untreatable forms; e-coli which is found in human feces and loves shower floors; candida which causes oral and vaginal yeast infections, and corynebacterium – that may include diphtheria forming strains. So germaphobes and non germaphobes alike – beware of invisible crawling things you might want to avoid when working out at gyms!