As spring finally starts to make its slow arrival and we can see the end of cold and flu season, our thoughts turn to health and fitness –and fitting into our summer clothes! We’re digging out our health club membership cards, packing our gym bags and vowing to recommit to those New Year’s resolutions that have started to fade.
It’s also a good idea to think about what we can do to reduce our exposure to illness and infection, even at the best health clubs.
What You Should Know
Health and fitness club contaminants can include norovirus, MRSA and fungal infections leading to athlete’s foot, ringworm and other serious—or at least irritating—medical and skin conditions.1,2
Germs can be found in several places throughout a health club including exercise equipment, workout mats, locker rooms, shower floors and even your own gym bag (once it’s touched the floor).
Among the hygiene tips listed by WebMD for avoiding such health club risks are the following:
- Wash hands for at least twenty seconds before and after workouts.
Sanitize with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
Shower as soon as possible. Sweaty clothes make an excellent bacteria breeding ground.
Protect your feet. Wear water shoes or flip flops in showers and wash your feet carefully. If prone to athlete’s foot, use an antifungal powder.
Never share towels, water bottles, soap, razors, combs, brushes or other personal items.
To the WebMD list of tips we’d like to add the following:
Bring your own workout mat, and keep it clean.
Never walk barefoot across group exercise floors.
Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as PURELL® Hand Sanitizer bottles or wipes in your gym bag for quick cleanup. PURELL wipes can also be used to wipe down gym equipment before and after your use.
Follow these sensible tips and your workouts will lead to a greater sense of health and well-being.