Healthy Gym Hygiene Habits: How to Stay Clean and Healthy at the Gym
April 25, 2023
Going to the gym is an excellent way to improve our physical and mental health, but it can also be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Without proper hygiene habits, we expose ourselves to various illnesses and infections. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand and follow healthy gym hygiene habits to stay clean and healthy at the gym.
In this article, we will discuss some essential tips to help you maintain good hygiene habits at the gym. From washing your hands regularly to wiping down equipment, we’ll cover everything you need to know to stay safe and healthy during your workouts.
So, let’s dive in and explore how you can stay clean and healthy at the gym with healthy gym hygiene habits.
Dirty Gym Habits to Watch Out For
A recent survey of 2,000 gym-goers conducted by Nuffield Health revealed some alarming gym hygiene habits. The survey found that nearly half, or 49%, of the respondents, admitted to secretly using a towel, toiletry, or drink that wasn’t theirs. This practice not only violates basic hygiene etiquette but can also lead to the spread of germs and bacteria.
The survey also found that 18% of gym-goers admitted to going to the gym while suffering from a virus or illness, which increases the risk of spreading the infection to others. This practice is particularly concerning as gyms are communal spaces where people come into close contact with each other and equipment.
Another hygiene issue identified in the survey was that 16% of gym-goers confessed to not washing their gym clothes between workouts, which can lead to the accumulation of bacteria and unpleasant odors.
The survey also revealed that a significant proportion of gym-goers, 74%, had witnessed other members committing hygiene offenses, such as not wiping down a machine after use or leaving behind dirty clothing.
It’s clear that these habits are not only unpleasant but also pose a significant risk to the health and well-being of gym-goers. It’s important to be aware of these issues and to practice good hygiene habits. Just keep reading till the end of the article to learn more!
Dangers of Poor Gym Hygiene
Poor gym hygiene can have serious consequences on your health. When people sweat and come into close contact with each other in a gym, it creates a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Here are some of the dangers of poor gym hygiene:
Infections: Failing to practice good hygiene habits such as wiping down equipment, washing your hands, and showering after your workout can increase your risk of exposure to germs and bacteria that can cause infections such as staph infections, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.
Illness: Germs and bacteria can be easily spread through the air and on surfaces. If someone at the gym has a cold or the flu, they can easily spread the virus to others through coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces.
Skin irritation: Sweat, bacteria, and friction can cause skin irritation and rashes, especially in areas that are prone to sweat such as the armpits, groin, and feet.
Body odor: Failing to shower after your workout and not practicing good hygiene habits can contribute to body odor, which can be unpleasant for both yourself and others around you.
Allergic reactions: Gym equipment and surfaces can harbor allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen, which can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.
7 Healthy Gym Hygiene Habits
Maintaining good hygiene habits is essential for staying healthy and safe at the gym. Here are seven healthy gym hygiene habits to practice:
1. Bring Your Own Towel
Bringing your towel to the gym is an essential hygiene habit that can help you stay clean and healthy. Gym towels are often used by multiple people and may not be cleaned thoroughly between uses, making them a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. By using your towel, you can avoid the risk of picking up someone else’s germs.
When choosing a gym towel, look for one that is absorbent and quick-drying. A microfiber towel is an excellent option as it is lightweight, compact, and dries quickly. It is also essential to wash your gym towel regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs.
During your workout, use your towel to wipe down the equipment before and after use. This helps to remove any sweat or bacteria left by the previous user. It’s also crucial to wipe down your own sweat to prevent it from accumulating on your skin and causing body odor.
Using your towel can also help you avoid direct contact with gym equipment. Many gym-goers use their hands to touch the equipment, and the germs can easily transfer from the equipment to your hands. By using your towel as a barrier between your hands and the equipment, you can reduce the risk of germs and bacteria spreading.
2. Use Hand Sanitizer
Using hand sanitizer is an essential hygiene habit to practice at the gym. Gyms are shared spaces, and with many people touching the same equipment and surfaces, it’s easy to pick up germs and bacteria.
Hand sanitizer is an effective way to kill germs and prevent the spread of illness. When using hand sanitizer, be sure to apply a generous amount to your hands and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. Pay attention to the areas between your fingers and under your nails, as these are often overlooked but can harbor germs.
It’s essential to use hand sanitizer frequently at the gym, especially before and after touching any equipment, your face, or any shared surfaces. Be sure to use hand sanitizer before and after your workout, as well as anytime you come into contact with potentially germ-filled surfaces.
In addition to using hand sanitizer, it’s also a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water regularly. This is especially important after using the restroom, before eating, and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.
Remember, good hand hygiene is crucial in preventing the spread of germs and illness. Using hand sanitizer is a simple but effective way to protect yourself and others at the gym.
3. Wear Proper Gym Attire
Wearing proper gym attire is an important aspect of maintaining good hygiene and promoting a healthy workout environment. Proper gym attire includes clothing that is comfortable, breathable, and designed for exercise. Here are some key considerations when choosing gym attire:
Choose breathable fabrics: Look for clothing made from breathable materials like cotton, bamboo, or moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics. These materials help to wick sweat away from your skin and keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
Avoid clothing that is too tight or restrictive: Tight-fitting clothing can trap sweat against your skin, leading to body odor and potential skin irritations. Choose clothing that fits comfortably but doesn’t restrict your movement.
Wear closed-toe shoes: Closed-toe shoes with a non-slip sole provide good support and protect your feet from potential injury. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, as they can expose your feet to germs and bacteria.
Bring a change of clothes: After your workout, change out of your sweaty gym clothes and into fresh, clean clothing. This helps to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria and promotes good hygiene practices.
Avoid wearing jewelry: Jewelry can trap bacteria and germs, leading to potential infections. It can also pose a safety hazard during your workout, especially if it gets caught on equipment.
By wearing proper gym attire, you can help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria and maintain a healthy workout environment. Be sure to choose clothing that is comfortable, breathable, and designed for exercise, and always bring a change of clothes to wear after your workout.
4. Clean the Equipment Before and After Use
Cleaning the equipment before and after use is one of the most important hygiene habits you can practice at the gym. Gym equipment is often touched by many people, and without proper cleaning, it can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
To clean the equipment before use, use a disinfectant spray or wipe it to clean the surface thoroughly. Pay attention to high-touch areas such as handles, buttons, and seats. This will help to remove any germs left behind by the previous user and reduce your risk of exposure.
After using the equipment, be sure to clean it again. This helps to remove any sweat or bacteria you may have left behind and ensures that the next user has a clean and safe surface to use. Always remember to dispose of used wipes or towels properly.
If your gym does not provide cleaning supplies, consider bringing your own. This can include disinfectant wipes, sprays, or a towel and a cleaning solution. By taking the initiative to clean the equipment yourself, you can ensure that you are doing everything possible to maintain good hygiene practices.
5. Avoid Touching Your Face
Avoiding touching your face is a critical hygiene habit to practice at the gym. Our hands are in constant contact with surfaces that harbor germs and bacteria, and touching our faces can increase the risk of infection.
When we touch our face, we transfer any germs or bacteria on our hands to our mouth, nose, and eyes, where they can enter the body and cause illness. This is particularly dangerous in shared spaces like the gym, where many people touch the same equipment and surfaces.
To avoid touching your face, be conscious of your hands and try to keep them away from your face as much as possible. If you must touch your face, be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer beforehand.
During your workout, it’s also a good idea to keep a towel nearby to wipe away sweat and avoid touching your face with your hands. You can also use the towel as a barrier between your face and the equipment or surfaces.
6. Shower After Your Workout
Showering after your workout is an essential hygiene habit to practice at the gym. During your workout, you sweat, and your body comes into contact with germs and bacteria. Showering after your workout helps to remove sweat, dirt, and germs from your skin, reducing the risk of infection.
When you shower after your workout, be sure to use soap and water to wash your entire body, paying special attention to areas that tend to collect sweat, such as your armpits, groin, and feet. Use a clean towel to dry off, and be sure to change into clean clothes afterward.
If you don’t have access to a shower, consider bringing a clean change of clothes to wear after your workout. This will help to reduce the amount of sweat and bacteria on your skin and clothes and keep you feeling fresh and clean.
7. Bring Your Water Bottle
Bringing your water bottle is a simple but effective hygiene habit to practice at the gym. Drinking plenty of water is important during your workout to stay hydrated, but using a shared water fountain can increase your risk of exposure to germs and bacteria.
By bringing your water bottle, you can avoid using the shared water fountain and reduce your risk of infection. Be sure to fill your water bottle before you leave home, and bring enough water to last throughout your workout.
Using a reusable water bottle is also an eco-friendly choice, reducing the amount of plastic waste generated by disposable water bottles. Just be sure to clean your water bottle regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Practicing healthy gym hygiene habits is essential to maintaining good health and preventing the spread of germs and illnesses.
It’s important to bring your towel and water bottle, wear proper gym attire, clean the equipment before and after use, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, and shower after your workout. These simple steps can help keep you and those around you healthy and safe while at the gym. By being mindful of your hygiene practices, you can enjoy a clean and comfortable workout experience without the worry of getting sick.
So, make sure to incorporate these healthy habits into your gym routine to stay healthy and fit.