the one germy mistake you're making at the gym

Although you don’t like to think about it, the local gym where you workout is a germy place. There’s no way to deny the amount of germs in there when hundreds of people use the exercise equipment on a daily basis to complete their sweaty, intense workouts. Now that you’re actually imagining it, it’s pretty gross, isn’t it?

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While there may not be many people in the gym at the time of your workout, you have to remember all of the people that put their damp clothes and exposed, sweaty skin on that particular piece of equipment before you did. Many gyms don’t get their equipment cleaned properly, and even if they do, how do you know there wasn’t someone on that machine an hour before you?

Gyms tend to rely on patrons to abide by simple gym etiquette and wipe down the machines after use. But in reality, a huge amount of people neglect to do this, instead leaving their sweat and any sickness they may have on the equipment that you are about to get on. Wherever there is contact, particularly with the hands, there is a higher chance of catching something nasty. This is why we’re encouraged to wash our hands many times throughout the day and especially before touching our face and eating. But while you may be courteous enough to wipe down the machine after use for the next person, how do you know if the person before you was thinking the same thing?

This is why you need to wipe down the gym equipment before you use it. Yes, it may seem pedantic, or be a little time consuming, but do you really want to be getting someone else’s sweat all over you? The hard surfaces at the gym are a great environment for viruses and fungi to survive, making it easier for you to catch something – especially if someone has been silly enough to come to the gym while they are sick. Having open wounds such as blisters or cuts also makes the body more susceptible to catching germs by having microorganisms invading the body.

Wiping down equipment before use is not something we usually think about when we’re in gym-mode, but as cold and flu season approaches, we need to protect our bodies from pathogens and keep healthy. Using your towel as a barrier between your skin and the equipment is also a good idea if your gym doesn’t have wipes or spray available – just make sure not to touch the towel to your face and always wash your hands after your gym session!

So next time you’re having a workout, do yourself and your body a favour and wipe the fitness equipment with an antibacterial wipe before you use it. You’ll be protecting yourself from nasty bacteria that’s on the equipment and lessening the chance of sickness or infection.

Image via The Huffington Post