Your Gym is Crawling with Germs - Here’s How You Can Stay Safe
January 16 2018
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."
- 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
- 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.
- Try to look for other options of minimizing and reducing your contact with the germ-addled gym surface, like copper-infused clothing.