Avoiding Germs at the Gym

Gyms are a place where germs can be spread. The good news is there are actions everyone can take to make gyms a cleaner place. There’s no need to skip workouts. Afterall, working out has been shown to boost immunity to colds and flu. Here are a few guidelines to protecting yourself at the gym:

If you are sick don’t go

It’s the simplest of rules. If you’ve got any symptoms, don’t go to the gym. If everyone followed this rule there would probably be no illnesses spread at the gym. If the germs don’t exist, they can’t be spread. What symptoms are we talking about? Things like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, slight fever, throwing up and diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, exercise at home or do an outdoor activity. Better safe than sorry.

Keep your distance

Coughing and sneezing are a common way germs get transmitted from person to person. Crowded fitness classes make it easy to inhale germs. When in class, keep a reasonable distance from other people. Try keeping two arm lengths between you and someone else. This will keep people from coughing, sneezing or sweating on you.

Wash your hands regularly

Vigorously washing your hands with soap and warm water is a primary way to prevent illness. People frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it. Unwashed hands carry germs that can get into the body. Germs can also be transferred to other objects like faucets, handrails, bottles and towels. The recommendation is washing the hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and being sure the front and back of the hands are washed as well as the fingernails.

Avoid touching your face

To help prevent infection, don’t touch your face when you’re in the gym. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Touching your face with dirty hands allows germs to enter the body. It’s estimated people touch their faces about 23 times an hour! Clearly not touching your face is a learned behavior. When we touch contaminated surfaces, the germs are transferred to our hands. We then infect ourselves by touching our faces.

Cover a wound

An open wound such as a cut or a scratch is an open entryway into the body. If you encounter infectious germs, the open wound is a way into the body. Put anti-bacterial ointment and a bandage on the wound so it’s covered. You may need to apply more of a bandage than you typically would because you’re at the gym and you’ll be sweating.