Gym hygiene is a topic not often discussed. People go to the gym for health and wellness reasons but sometimes it can be the very place where our health can be compromised. For example, the damp mats and rubber are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. The fact that there are many other people going to the gym means that you have more chances of catching a virus. And aside from viruses, fitness injuries are also very likely to occur.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) once published an article about the presence of the bacteria MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in health clubs especially among student athletes. MRSA easily spread due to skin on skin contact and sharing of personal things. The symptoms include rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and a red, painful swelling on the skin.
How to Protect Yourself while at the Gym
- Basic gym hygiene suggests that you bring an extra towel and wipe the machines. Before you grab hold of a workout equipment, wipe it. No one works out without sweating. And sweat comes with bacteria. Do the next user a favor and wipe the equipment down after you use it as well.
- Bring your own mat. This should ensure you that you will not be sharing germs with other people. Also bring with you an anti-bacterial spray for your mat. Wipe it dry when you’re done.
- Drink from your water bottle not from the gym’s water fountain. Someone who has cold might have made contact with the spout.
- Use slippers when using the gym shower. Do not use the bar soap that’s made available to everyone. Just use their soap if it’s liquid in a dispenser. When you’re done showering, dry your body thoroughly. Avoid sitting in locker room benches.
- Avoid sharing personal things like your towel – this is another standard gym hygiene, and this should normally be straight-forward.
- Choose good shoes that can give your feet the support they need.
- Don’t forget to stretch. You will reduce the risk of workout injury when you stretch before working out.
- Bring a hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray with you.
- Eat food rich in antioxidants that will boost your immune system. They can protect and repair cells from damage. Vitamins that contain anti-oxidants are: vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene. So eat a lot of broccoli, carrots, corn, peaches, mangoes, spinach, watermelon, tomatoes, orange, papaya, green pepper, sunflower seeds, nuts, prunes, raisins, berries, beans and eggplant.
- Those who go do hard-core workouts or those who are seriously training for a competition deplete their glycogen after training. Glycogen is a form of carbohydrates stored in the muscles and liver. If they are not replenished, your body won’t be able to function well on your next session. What you need to do is to load up on carbohydrates within thirty minutes after your workout. Aside from carbohydrates, you should also eat protein-rich food because they help repair the muscles.
- Drink lots of water. Rehydrate to replenish the fluids you loose when you sweat.
- According to studies, exercising regularly will boost your immune system. People with higher immune systems are less likely to get colds.
- If you have a cut or wound, make sure to keep it dry and covered.
- Think before taking a dip in a Jacuzzi. Jacuzzis are known to have a strong presence of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
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