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Fittingly Mad: Sick People at the Gym

I go to the gym because it keeps me healthy. It strengthens my muscles, my heart, and my immune system. So I don't appreciate it when flu-infested Francine shows up and starts huffing and puffing on the treadmill next to me. I know that some people believe that exercising can help get rid of a cold faster, but there's a time and a place.

There usually isn't a whole lot of ventilation in the gym, and I don't need to be breathing in the germs you're trying to get rid of. I also don't want to touch anything you touched, and no — wiping the equipment down with your sweaty towel doesn't quite cut it. I especially don't appreciate you stuffing your used tissues in the drink holder (I seriously saw this the other day).

So do everyone a favor — if you're sick, stay away from the gym. If you're up for exercising, do a fitness DVD, some weight lifting at home, or go for a bike ride or jog outside. Then you can come back to the gym when you're germ-free.


Join The Conversation
fitbuff fitbuff 9 years
That's why you guys should use HandleBuddies like I do. You just put them over the handrails and you don't touch the germy grips directly, especially with stuff like MRSA on the rise. They're washable and a great product to use to stay healthy! They're available only at
klandrach klandrach 9 years
Ugh this bothers me too! I have a friend that always hits the gym when she is sick and I lecture her everytime. It is selfish and I have no desire to workout next to a sick person, thank you very much. Gross!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Well, anywhere you go you can get sick. Just think of the office, the grocery store, the gas station (you think people wipe down the nozzle after filling up?) Granted, it doesn't feel nice to work out next to somebody who's coughing and has got the sniffles, but I don't think you should blame it on them when you do get sick.
moonlite moonlite 9 years
Wow, that's harsh. I know Americans are extremely paranoid about getting sick, but it seems unfair to tell sick people to stay away from the gym just because of your own irrational fear of germs. Some people pay a lot of money for their gym memberships, so doing a DVD or working out at home may not be something they want to do. And why don't we just tell everyone who's sick to not leave their house, so that you don't run the risk of walking by them on the street? Seems kind of selfish to me. People get sick and so will you once in awhile, just deal with it.
chatoyante chatoyante 9 years
avienndha- how about a plastic ziploc bag? Stick it in the cupholder, put the tissues in it, zip it and toss it when you're done?
chatoyante chatoyante 9 years
I'm sitting at home with a bad cold right now...this subject is close to my heart :) caryatid's comment is an example of why so many of us have gotten sick at the gym. What is one person's "feeling good enough to work out with a cold" can translate into a week at home with a fever for someone else--it all depends on our immune systems. People who go to the gym do so to get healthier! Is the concept of social responsibility that novel?
Mmmarshmallow Mmmarshmallow 9 years
Errr... doesn't this completely contradict the advice that was given in the 'You Asked: Exercising when Sick' feature? And in any case, I'm sure that you are just as likely to get a cold from sitting in the same office space with someone who has a cold than at a gym. I will agree though about the used tissues in the drinks holder though. THAT is disgusting.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I absolutely and completely agree with you Fit. I feel the same way about people who come to class when they're really sick. Just stay home. It's not fair to the people around you to infect them.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 9 years
I go to a gym where all the cardio machines are cramped into a little un-ventelated area & whenever I hear people sneeze or cough I always cringe!!! I spray my machine down when I am done working out & go straight to the bathroom to wash my hands & fore arms after working out! icky! I hate when people DO NOT spray their machines! I see some gross people just walk away after they profusely sweated all over the thing! I want to gag whenever I see that happen!!!
crystallyn crystallyn 9 years
I am 100% convinced that I contracted the flu this year from some idiot who went to the gym and managed to get their germs all over the machines. If you do go when you think you just have a cold, for gods sakes PLEASE DISINFECT THE EQUIPMENT AFTERWARD!
caryatid caryatid 9 years
eh, i don't think going to the gym with a cold is that big of a deal... if you feel good enough to work out, you probably don't have anything that serious, right? but if you're vomiting or something, stay home. coughing and runny nose i can deal with.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
i am a good girl, i've got the flu and wanted to work out a bit, but stayed at home so nobody else would get sick :) yeap, people are very incosiderate, i once saw a girl on a bus with her mum and the girl (10 years old) had chicken-pocks!!!!! assholes.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I'm not too worried about it...germs are going to be everywhere no matter what. You have a higher chance of catching a cold from touching the bathroom door after someone who has a cold touches it. As long as you wash your hands thoroughly before and after hitting the gym and wipe off your cardio equipment, you should be fine.
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
I work out no matter what :)
avienndha avienndha 9 years
My nose runs like CRAZY when I run. No matter what time of year. Any other suggestions for someone like me and the tissues? : P I don't really have pockets on my gym clothes, but make sure to ALWAYS wipe out the cup holder after... Any suggestions are welcome!
catander catander 9 years
I have to agree with steviasweet. Gyms are full of germs no matter what. It's not really for me to say that someone with a cold shouldn't be working out. I always wipe down the equipment with sanitizing spray before and after I work out, and I also wash my hands when I'm through.
GrapeBubbleGum GrapeBubbleGum 9 years
I'll go when my cold is trailing off and maybe the first day when I'm just starting to wonder if I have a cold (because it's often just allergies), but in the middle of it no way! If I'd have to blow my nose, i won't do it. I mean, how are you going to properly breathe that way??
steviasweet steviasweet 9 years
Jeez, I'd be more worried about all the people I see not washing their hands in the bathroom than a person with a cold...
LJDP LJDP 9 years
During this season I have been maniacally wiping down everything, and they provide sanitizing spray and towels as well as hand sanitizer at my gym.. i've been using it just about every ten minutes!
Neve1 Neve1 9 years
OK, I have to admit, I go to the gym even when I have a cold... Not when I'm too sick (coughing...) though. And I'm really careful - I wash my hands before touching the machines, I go to the gym early so that it's not too crowded and I don't have to work out right next to somebody else... and I certainly would never stuff my used tissues in the drink holder!!! Gross! But I agree that it's not the most hygienic thing ever. I'm a bit ashamed of myself now...
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Who could ever work out when you're THAT sick??!!
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