It’s that time of year again: the weather becomes colder, the color of the leaves change, the holidays are near, and you may be thinking about starting a new health and fitness goal for yourself. Although these tips can be applied year-round, flu season is upon us. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to possibly avoid it. Whether you are a new gym member, or you attend on a regular basis, the flu does not discriminate. While having proper gym etiquette, remember these helpful tips on how to avoid germs at the gym.
- Wash your hands before and after your workout. To break part of the cycle of gym germs, your hands may be covered in germs from work – you don’t want to spread it to others. After your workout, you may have touched many pieces of equipment. To not bring the germs into your car – and possibly into your home – wash your hands after your workout and before you leave the facility.
- Wipe down gym equipment before and after you use it. Most gyms require the members to wipe their equipment with an antibacterial spray or wipe when they are done using it. This may not always be the case. Or if they do, they may not wipe down everything needed like the handles.
- Cover any open or exposed wounds. An open wound is like a target to germs; your most protective layer (your skin) for your immune system has been broken. As a two-way street, you do not want to have germs going into your open wound, and you do not want to spread any germs by touching the equipment.
- BYOB/T/E. Bring your own (water) bottle, towel, and an exercise mat. If you bring your own water bottle, be sure not to touch the top that goes into your mouth. Some gyms provide complementary sweat towels or bath towels for the locker rooms; bringing your own from home ensures other people have not exposed their germs into the fibers. Most gyms also provide mats for floor exercises like abs or stretching. Again, these facilities also require the individual to wipe down the mat afterward, but that is not always the case.
- Always wear shoes in the locker room. Locker rooms are crawling with micro bacteria and fungi; never walk around without shoes and socks. If you choose to shower at your gym, bring a pair of water-proof shoes like Crocs or flip-flops.
- Never touch your face. Even when you are drenched in sweat, you may want to instantly wipe it away. Bringing your own sweat towel ensures that you will not directly touch your face.
- Sanitize your phone. While at the gym, some may choose a workout on their phone while others only listen to music. Either way, you are constantly touching the gym equipment and then touching your phone afterward. Simply use an anti-bacterial wipe on your phone and hands after each gym session.
The best way to prevent yourself from catching the flu is by receiving the flu shot every year and washing your hands. However, preventative measures should always be taken whether you have received your flu shot or not!
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