Millions of people across the country rely on the gym to keep them in shape. However, while at the gym, members are consistently sweating, leaving sweat on benches, the floor, weights, and more. Germs live on all surfaces throughout the gym. While everyone expects gyms to be full of sweaty people, this sweat often leads to the build-up of germs and bacteria. Exposure to other people’s sweat and germ-ridden equipment and weights can be dangerous to your health. Skin infections and other infectious diseases can spread this way. Practicing good hygiene in the gym is vital to ensuring the health and safety of all members.
At the moment, the world is facing a global pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19. During this pandemic, governments issued stay-at-home orders, banning the gathering of ten or more people. These orders also forced many businesses to close their doors, including gyms. However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has slowly been reopening the Lone Star State. As part of Phase Two of his plans to open Texas, gyms opened on May 18.
With COVID-19 lingering, practicing good hygiene is more vital than ever. By following Abbott’s guidelines, you can add these practices to several good hygiene practices that already exist. Fitness Nation is excited to see our members once again and help them achieve their fitness goals. However, we urge our members to practice good hygiene in the gym to protect our staff and all members.
Dangers of Poor Hygiene
While the gym is the perfect place to get active and stay healthy, it’s also a place full of germs and bacteria. Naturally, if you’re having a good workout, you’re going to sweat. If you don’t clean up after yourself, sweat begins to build-up. Germs and bacteria are cultivated and easily spread if you do not clean equipment.
When members have poor gym hygiene, several harmful diseases and infections can threaten them, such as:
- Staph Infections: Staphylococcus infections and MRSA can live on weights and gym equipment. They can even live on mats, towels, and benches.
- Fungal Infections: A group of fungi called dermatophytes is to blame for most fungal infections. Such infections include athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.
- Virus: Virus, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), can spread at the gym, as well. Other viruses, such as herpes and airborne respiratory viruses, are other common viruses found in the gym.
COVID-19 is another contagious and dangerous virus that can spread easily with poor hygiene. By practicing good hygiene in the gym, you can help prevent the spread of these germs and diseases.
Good Hygiene Practices
The need for good hygiene is greater than ever. With the world still facing a global pandemic, people must be more careful. As gyms begin to open across Texas, gym members must follow good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other harmful diseases. Today, Fitness Nation will be providing some useful practices all gym members should consider when going to the gym.
Wash Your Hands
It may sound obvious, but washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. You should wash your hands before and after your workout. Also, every time you use the restroom, you need to wash your hands. This means wetting your hands with clean running water, lathering them with soap, and rubbing them for 20 seconds. Always dry them off with a clean towel.
If you can’t wash your hands, sanitize them. Most gyms typically have multiple sanitation stations spread out throughout the gym. A good rule of thumb, especially during this pandemic, is to sanitize your hands before using any equipment. Additionally, you should always bring your own towel, so you can wipe down and sanitize all equipment after you are finished using it.
Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Invest in a good water bottle. Water fountains are one of the most unsanitary areas in all gyms. You do not want to be putting your mouth close to them. A water bottle reduces the number of times you need to go to a water fountain while keeping your mouth away from them.
Wash Your Clothes
You should never wear the same article of clothing to the gym after you have already worked out and sweat in it. Sweat and germs accumulate in dirty clothes, and if you wear them again, you help the spread of these germs. Wash and dry your workout clothes each time you wear them. Additionally, take off your clothes and shower, as soon as possible. Bacteria thrive in sweaty clothes, so you need to get out of them quickly.
Avoid Touching Your Face
This one can be hard, but it can prove to be useful. Bacteria thrive on sweaty gym equipment, and while you may wipe down gym equipment, others may not. By touching your face, you could bring those germs to your face. The opposite is also true. If you wipe sweat from your face and touch equipment, you’re spreading more germs.
Governor Abbott’s Guidelines
As we said earlier, the state of Texas is slowly opening again. Gyms are a part of phase two, which began on May 18. To help keep gyms safe for members and staff, Governor Abbott developed a list of guidelines for staff and members to follow. Some of these guidelines include:
- Gyms will operate at 25% capacity. Members of staff do not count towards capacity.
- Locker rooms and showers will remain closed, but restrooms will remain open.
- Child daycares will also remain closed.
- Gyms must space out workout equipment to provide six feet of separation between members.
- Surfaces that are regularly touched, such as doorknobs, tables, chairs, and restrooms should be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
- Members should wipe and disinfect any equipment or weights they touch. Cleaning products should be placed throughout the gym.
- Provide hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, and other disinfectants throughout the gym for members, staff, and contractors.
- Display easy to read signs in heavy traffic areas, reminding everyone about good hygiene practices.
- While not explicitly recommended, consider wearing gloves and a facemask when entering the gym.
Lastly, under no circumstances should a member or employee come to the gym if they are feeling sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19. Some of these symptoms include:
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches and pains
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Loss of taste or smell
The health and safety of our members, staff, and community remains one of Fitness Nation’s top priorities. While our staff does their part to keep our facilities clean, members can also help by practicing good hygiene in the gym. With COVID-19 still a threat, now more than ever should you be practicing good hygiene.