6 ways to protect yourself from infections you could pick from the gym

By Skin & Hair Academy  |   July 31, 2015

Staying fit is integral to a healthy life. Most people prefer hitting the gym for their daily dose of exercise. While sweating it out at the gym is a great way to keep fit and healthy, skin infections can hamper your pursuit of perfect health if you are not careful. [1]

Working out in a gym usually brings about skin infections as the combination of body heat, sweat, shared equipment and close contact creates perfect conditions for germs to thrive. Infections can be fungal or bacterial, but irrespective of their origin they are sometimes contagious and spread easily. Some of these infections, especially fungal infections, can lead to itching, rashes, skin shedding and even bleeding. Maintaining hygiene at the gym is very important so that infections do not spread.

 

Here are 6 ways to prevent infections at the gym:

 

  • 1. Use clean equipment

    Exercise machines shared by people visiting the gym can lead to spread of infections. Instead of using the hand towel provided at the gym, it is advisable to carry your own wipes to clean the equipment before use. You also need to wash your hands frequently. [2]

  • 2. Wear slippers while taking a shower

    It is necessary to wear slippers or flip-flops while taking a shower because fungal infections from the bathroom floor can get in through the skin pores. To minimise the risk further, gym footwear can be soaked in a bleach solution once in a while.

  • 3. Don’t share personal items

    Personal items like towels, soaps or water bottles must not be shared. Personal belongings may be contaminated with fungus and may be responsible for a rapid spread of infections if shared. Using exercise mats already available in the gym is also not a good idea; personal mats should be used, and these too should be cleaned regularly.

  • 4. Wash gym gear regularly

    The bag used for keeping gym gear can get dirty, dark and moist, something that helps fungi grow easily. [3] Clothes used in a gym should be immediately washed and kept in a plastic bag after use. Shoes should be left to dry in the air to let off moisture. Even the bag used to carry gym gear needs to be cleaned at regular intervals.

  • 5. Avoid gymming if unwell

    If you are unwell you should avoid going to the gym. Not only will symptoms like coughing and sneezing worsen, but you will also be spreading infections around rather quickly. Moreover, many exercise equipments use hard rubber-based latex which can cause allergic rashes and add to your problems. [4]

  • 6. Cover cuts and scrapes

    You should neatly cover and bandage any wounds before going to the gym because sweat, when it enters the wound, can cause infections, sometimes leading to pus formation. Common areas should be avoided.

Staying fit is necessary but personal hygiene also needs to be taken care of. Precautions are important while using the gym or else infections and diseases can cause serious problems and affect users adversely.

 

References:

[1] Advice , Athletes, Coaches and Team Healthcare Providers , Community , MRSA , CDC. 2015. Advice , Athletes, Coaches and Team Healthcare Providers , Community , MRSA , CDC. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/team-hc-providers/advice-for-athletes.html. [Accessed 21 September 2015].

[2] National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Skin Diseases. 2015. National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Skin Diseases. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2902037/. [Accessed 21 September 2015].

[3] Are gymnasium equipment surfaces a source of staphylococcal infections in the community? - PubMed - NCBI . 2015. Are gymnasium equipment surfaces a source of staphylococcal infections in the community? - PubMed - NCBI . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21356432. [Accessed 21 September 2015].

[4] Diversity of Bacterial Communities of Fitness Center Surfaces in a U.S. Metropolitan Area. 2015. Diversity of Bacterial Communities of Fitness Center Surfaces in a U.S. Metropolitan Area. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276630/. [Accessed 21 September 2015].


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