Currency:

Your Gym is Crawling with Germs – Here’s How You Can Stay Safe

When you go to the gym, do you wash your hands before and after using the gym equipment? If you don’t, you need to start doing so right away! For a study conducted by FitRated, bacteria samples from 27 different pieces of gym equipment were collected to get a better understanding of the germs and bacteria we come in touch with when using the gym equipment. And it turns out the average gym equipment, like the treadmill, the exercise bike or the free weights are all laden with germs. Each piece of equipment had more than 1 million germs per square inch.

Gym Equipment and Germs

According to the report by FitRated, not only is your gym covered with germs and bacteria, but 70% of the bacteria samples found are potentially harmful to humans and are known to cause life threatening diseases like MRSA, Pneumonia and Septicemia.

In fact, the study also reported that, “All three types of equipment yielded gram-positive cocci (a common cause of skin infections and other illnesses); gram-negative rods (which can prompt many types of infections and sometimes resist antibiotics), and gram-positive rods (which can – but don’t often – cause various types of infections). The exercise bikes and free weight samples also turned up Bacillus – a potential cause of various conditions, including ear, eye and respiratory infections.” Here’s an infographic comparing the number of germs found on gym equipment to other daily used items to put things into perspective.

Gym Equipment and Skin Infections

Another article published by NY Times warns all gym goers to take all the necessary care and precaution when using the gym to avoid contracting highly infectious skin diseases. The article also draws its insights from a paper published by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, known as N.A.T.A. about the prevention and treatment of skin diseases in athletes. In the paper, authors pointed out that, “Recreational athletes as well as participants in organized sports are prone to fungal, viral and bacterial skin infections. Sweat, abrasion and direct or indirect contact with the lesions and secretions of others combine to make every athlete’s skin vulnerable to a host of problems. While MRSA may be the most serious skin infection, athlete’s foot, jock itch, boils, impetigo, herpes simplex and ringworm, among others, are not exactly fun or attractive.”

Other Germ-Addled Areas at the Gym to Watch-out for:

Locker Rooms

Owing to the amount of sweat and humidity present in the locker rooms, it becomes the perfect setting for bacteria to breed and thrive, thus playing host to a number of diseases and illnesses just waiting to happen.

Exercise Mats

By simply striking a yoga pose, your body could come in contact with almost a million germs that can lead to skin infections, cold sores or even result in contracting the flu.

Gym Bags

Now that you know about the number of germs present at the gym, just take a moment to think about the number of germs your faithful old gym bag comes in contact with every time you place it somewhere, be it the locker room, the stands or even the gym bench.

Gym Towels & Bottles

If your gym is teaming with germs, just think about the number of germs on other products that are regularly used by other patrons at the gym such as the gym towels and the water bottles.

Now that you have a better idea of the presence of bacteria and other germs at the gym, as well as the potential implications of using such germ riddled equipment, it is about time you consider the methods of preventative care. While your best defense is to wash your hands before entering and leaving the gym, you must also consider other methods of preventative care.

  1. Go in for a shower as soon as you are back home to kill off any germs that you might have carried along when leaving the gym
  2. While you have to use the exercise equipment, try to minimize your usage of the other public items like water bottles, gym towels and gym mats.
  3. Try to look for other options of minimizing and reducing your contact with the germ-addled gym surface, like copper-infused clothing.

When on the subject of the spread of bacteria and how it can be prevented, it would be impossible to think about the potential health benefits of using copper infused products to combat the widespread reach of bacteria. According to a study published by the University of Southhampton, copper in its metal form as well as copper-infused fabric have the ability to kill germs and bacteria upon contact. In fact, it was observed that the copper nylon fabric was actually faster than on 100% copper metal. Following these discoveries, researchers and scientists alike are looking for ways to introduce copper touch surfaces in such environments to help reduce the spread of bacteria and germs. Think copper door-knobs and handles, copper railings and rods or even special copper-infused gym mats and copper infused compression gear for the gym! The possibilities are endless.

Copper-infused Products and the Gym

While copper touch surfaces will take a while, all you have to do to leverage the anti-bacterial properties of copper right away is simply use copper-infused compression wear while at the gym. So, instead of lifting weights bare handed, just put on a pair of copper-compression gloves while you are at it. If you are more of a yoga person, just remember to wear a pair of copper-infused gloves and socks to minimize the contact of your hands and feet with that dirty, old yoga mat. By simply incorporating copper infused products like copper compression gloves and socks into your gym bag, you will be able to significantly reduce the reach and impact of the diseases causing bacteria at your gym!