You go to the gym to be fit and healthy. However, gyms are breeding grounds for germs that can make you sick and unhealthy.
Because so many people handle things such as free weights, weight machines, exercise balls, etc., this equipment is often rife with bugs and viruses that can lead to colds, flu and other infections.
Exercise equipment, including exercise mats, can also hold microbes that may cause skin infections, athlete’s foot and even hepatitis A.
For example, norovirus, which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, can survive for a month on the surface of exercise machines.
There are even cases of MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to dangerous skin infections, being found on gym equipment.
That’s not all.
Fungi and bacteria — such as E. coli, staph and fecal matter, as well as vaginal yeast — have all been detected at gyms across the country.
If that wasn’t bad enough, streptococcus — which causes various illnesses, from strep throat, to pink eye, to meningitis and bacterial pneumonia — can survive on doorknobs and other surfaces, such as sweaty exercise equipment.
The simple solution to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands before and after your workout. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands at the gym, or after leaving, is a surefire way to invite sickness.
Just touching your steering wheel with unwashed hands after leaving the gym can transfer bacteria that may survive there for weeks, increasing your chances for infection even when you haven’t recently been to the gym.
If you shower at the gym, always wear flip-flops to avoid athletes’ foot (a foot fungus caused by candida) and plantar warts, which are caused by the HP virus.
The key is not to be paranoid and to avoid the gym, but to instead be aware and cautious. Thoroughly washing your hands is a very simple, preventative measure. Just do it.