Gyms are sweaty places. And they’re set to get even busier, and sweatier. Not a problem if you wipe and go or bring your own mat. But many of us don’t. Should we stop stressing about it? Or is it germ warfare?
Not to be all alarmist about it, but yes there are germs lurking in gyms. Most of these are minor, such as colds, athlete’s foot and skin infections. But some are more serious, such as herpes and staphylococcus bacteria.
Items that are handled more, like free weights, weight machines and exercise balls, are more likely to harbour bugs and viruses that can lead to colds and infections. Bacteria lingers on exercise mats after people use them. The locker room, water bottle and towels are also germ hotspots.
Whilst you can pick up infections from gyms, they’re more likely to be from your own hygiene practices.
Eating lunch before washing your hands? Not good. Sweaty, unwashed socks and not letting your feet dry out? Hello fungus infections! But it’s nothing handwashing and regular sock changes can’t fix.
Even the most serious bacteria, such as staph, rarely cause problems. Infections are passed on through cuts in your skin, and most are passed from person to person, not surface to person.
While gyms do their best to wipe down equipment and mats at the beginning and end of each day, it’s impractical to clean them after every workout. Accept that germs are there – then wash your hands and kit after your workout, especially before eating your sandwich.
Still feeling cautious?
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To throw the cat in amongst the pigeons, I have never ever wiped after I've used the gym (maybe I don't work out hard enough) and I have never ever caught a bug (as far as I know) from the gym.
we should be avoiding wipes due to eco concerns; and certainly not flushing them, London's sewers are suffering! I imagine a mat is quite hard to sterilise, but I was always told the key thing is hand washing. Do that before eating or touching eyes/face and the bugs won't get in.
I have never seen anyone take any antiseptic wipes to the gym and I think over-sanitising the gym is an impossible and pinntlss task Saying that, I don''t want to sit in a pool of someone else's sweat, so definitely take a towel and do the decent thing if needed.
Blimey, I'd never realised there were so many germs! Saying that, they're probably every public area we go. And it does all coming down to washing your hands. Problem solved.