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How to Avoid Germs at the Gym

Avoid the Flu! How to Prevent Getting Sick at the Gym

You think you're doing your body good by hitting the gym regularly — exercise is one way to strengthen your immune system — but sweating it out at a gym can be like walking into a germ factory. You're working out and breathing so closely to others, sharing air and equipment, it's almost impossible to avoid contact with other people's sweat and germs. Here are a few tips on how to prevent getting sick.

Wash and Repeat

Hit the bathroom or locker room as soon as you arrive at the gym to ditch any germs that may already be on your hands from work, public transportation, or wherever. After using any gym equipment, be it dumbbells or the treadmill, wash your hands. And to avoid germs that may be lurking on equipment, keep antibacterial wipes handy to give a thorough rubdown before you touch them. Pay special attention to areas commonly touched such as handles and buttons.

Never Touch This

The number one way germs are transmitted is from your hands to your face. So when you're dripping with sweat, use a clean towel — never wipe your face with your hands. You can use the towels provided by your gym, or if you're a super germaphobe, just bring your own.

Do Your Laundry

Wear clean, dry clothes every time you go to the gym. Even though yesterday's gym clothes may seem clean, bacteria and germs may be lurking from your previous workout. Once you're finished, get out of those sweaty clothes and take a shower to wash away sweat, bacteria, and germs before they have a chance to make you sick. If you don't have time, at least wash your hands and face thoroughly.

Wear These

Don't go barefoot. Ever. The heat and moisture created by showers, saunas, and hot tubs create a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and mold. So wear sneakers while in the main part of the gym, and wear flip-flops while in the locker room and shower to prevent athlete's foot.

Don't Share to Show You Care

Gyms provide a great service when they offer public yoga mats, resistance bands, and Zumba toning sticks, but you can cut down on germ exposure by throwing your own portable exercise equipment into your gym bag to use instead. And if you meet your BFF at the gym to do your favorite arms and abs circuit, do not share equipment. Even people you know and love carry germs, so always use your own towel, yoga mat, goggles, sweatband, razor, deodorant, and bar of soap. They may think you're weird for not sharing, but they'll appreciate you not getting them sick.

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
Allytta Allytta 9 years
actually cold water works better for scrubbing of bacteria, Spectra :P My grandma is a doctor and she taught me that when i was a child, somehow it make it easier for soup to rinse of the bacteria, and the water we use is never hot enought to kill anything :) if it was we would have awful burns.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
The single best thing you can do to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands often. You don't have to use antibacterial soap, but you should use hot water and soap.
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
I like to sit in the sauna for a little bit after I work out... I think it helps me to clear everything bad out.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Great tips. Thanks,Fit!
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 9 years
All of these are crucial! Also, don't let the clothing you're about to put on touch the bench or floors - those will have bacteria that can be immediately transferred to your skin. Keep them inside your gym bag/on your hanger until you put them on.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Very important tips!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I try and folow these rules ALL the time :P
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