Attending a local gym can be a great way to establish and maintain an exercise program. With many people coming and going throughout the facility in a day, it’s important to do your part in keeping it a safe and healthy environment. We’re going to take a closer look at the top 10 ways to practice good gym hygiene and etiquette.
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands before and after your exercise session to avoid bringing germs in or out of the gym. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer or wipes in your gym bag for when you’re in a pinch.
Wipe Down Equipment
The number one way you can avoid germs and be courteous to others is to wipe down your equipment with provided disinfectants before and after you use it. Be cautious when spraying disinfectant around electronic portions of equipment and follow the gym’s guidelines. Don’t forget to wipe down yoga mats too!
Keep Your Clothes Clean
Wear clean, dry clothes for each gym session. This keeps you from bringing in germs or sweat smells from your previous workout. If you can’t shower right after exercise, bring a clean pair of clothes to change into. Bacteria loves sweaty clothes and can lead to things like skin irritation and yeast infections. Washing your gym clothes, socks, and swimsuits will help them last longer.
Bring Your Own Towel
We all know gyms are sweaty places. Think about bringing a towel to carry and dry off as needed. Having your own will allow you to ensure you’re using a clean, dry towel each exercise session. Don’t use this towel to wipe off equipment, as this can spread even more germs. Instead, use the provided wipes or towels designated for equipment. You wouldn’t want to end up with disinfectant in your eyes the next time you towel off your face.
Proper hydration is so important during your workout. However, you want to be mindful not to create unnecessary spills or drink mix-ups. To avoid this, always throw away water cups as soon as you’re finished with them. Or better yet, bring your own water bottle to keep with you throughout your workout.
Practice Good Skincare
Always cover any cuts, wounds, or abrasions while exercising to avoid infection or spreading germs. If you plan on swimming, then it’s best to skip the pool until your skin break has completely healed.
Don’t Touch Your Face
It can feel like second nature to wipe the sweat off your brow or move that strand of hair out of your face while working out. However, touching your face is one of those most common ways to spread germs. Remind yourself throughout your exercise session to avoid touching your face and to wash your hands before you do.
Bring Shower Necessities
It’s a common practice to shower at the gym following a workout, especially for those headed to work after their exercise session. It’s better to bring your own shower necessities, including soap, shampoo, towels, and flip flops, instead of sharing someone else’s.
Be Thoughtful with Equipment
Whether you’re exercising during the busy peak hours or with just a few people, it’s still important to be thoughtful with the equipment and space you’re using. Be mindful of how long you’re using equipment, clean it, and put it back as soon as you’re finished. Taking care of the equipment can help it last longer and keep you safe and healthy. Be considerate of the exercisers around you as you want them to show you the same consideration.
Know When to Take a Rest Day
If you’re not feeling 100% or fighting an illness, it’s better to take a rest day than risk further infection or spreading it to others. Chances are, if your body is fighting something, it could use a rest day for a quicker recovery.
Get the most benefit out of your workouts by prioritizing the health of yourself and those around you. A little mindfulness can keep your gym session safe and healthy.
Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.
Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP
Continue reading September 2022 Newsletter: Sleep, Stress, and Your Immune System