You’re usually focused on avoiding weight gain and pulled muscles at the gym, but you should probably think twice about steering clear of the germs at your fitness center, too. According to a recent report from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, bacterial skin infections are a huge risk for anyone who works out in a communal setting – gyms, fitness centers, yoga classes, and schools all apply. The skin infections can range from athlete’s foot to jock itch, boils, impetigo, herpes simplex, ringworm, and staphylococcus infections, the worst of which can be deadly.
Experts say that you should assume exposure to viruses and bacteria at the gym – they’re too common to avoid, and spread quickly in a sweaty workout environment. The best way to avoid infection is to shower at the gym and change into clean clothes (you should keep them separate from the dirty ones in your gym bag), and use an antibacterial soap to wash from head to toe (in fact, especially your toes). Also be sure to dry thoroughly before leaving the gym, and keep hands clean. If you’re joining a gym, you should ask the staff about their hygiene practices and be sure that there are antibacterial spray bottles for use before and after machine use. Bringing your own mat and towels isn’t a bad idea, either.
(via New York Times)