According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), in 2007 there were 13.7 million U.S health club members between the ages of 18-34.
For those who actually go to the gym on a regular basis in attempt to stay healthy or lose weight, may also be at risk of acquiring infections.
In addition, athlete’s foot, jock itch, boils, impetigo, herpes simplex and ringworm, among others, are also skin infections that you may be vulnerable to.
While these may seem obvious, you might be surprised at the amount of people who don’t take the neccessary precautions.
In efforts to be sure that you keep your skin safe:
- Wash your hands with warm/hot water and soap frequently and thoroughly.
- Cover any cut or scrape with a clean, dry bandage until it has healed.
- Wipe down the exercise equipment, communal yoga mats and area where you workout with disinfectant wipes or sprays.
- Shower with antibacterial soap and put on clean clothes immediately after your workout.
- Use only your own towels, razors, bar soap, goggles, and water bottles.
- Wear flip flops in the locker room and showers.
- Do not sit directly on the bench in the locker room, instead sit on a clean towel.
- Get a gym bag that is washable and wash it regularly. Consider carrying two gym bags, one for clean clothes and one for dirty. If not possible, remove damp towels and sweaty clothes from bag as soon as you return home.
- Report cleanliness concerns of facility to the staff.
The health benefits of going to the gym undoubtedly outweigh the risk of acquiring an infection, so avoiding the gym should not be an option. Just be smart when you do.