The gym business is on a steady track of recovery, with market size projections for 2022 reaching over $32 billion, according to IBISWorld. This represents a growth rate of 4.2 percent from the previous year. But given that people are more concerned than ever for their health, gyms are going to be much stricter in terms of hygiene guidelines.
However, gym goers shouldn’t be worried as these rules are simple and quite easy to follow. Whether you have a gym membership or you set up a temporary low cost home gym in your living room every other day, you just have to remember a few core principles to stay hygienic at the gym. Make a habit of these and you should be able to stay within any gym’s sanitation standards.
Why You Should Observe Good Gym Hygiene
Whether it’s your home gym or a fully staffed membership gym, it still pays to stick to strict gym hygiene guidelines. In fact, some gyms even require it for their members. The main reason, as you may have guessed, is the health risk involved. You can catch all sorts of things from the microorganisms breeding on the bodily fluids left behind on gym equipment, even if they are your own. The most common ones include fungal and staphylococcus infections. Not to mention, sweat also damages gym equipment because of its acidity and salt content.
Bring Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Most gyms these days require you to wipe down the equipment after every use. If they don’t already provide cleaning supplies, you can go the extra mile and bring your own to sanitize the equipment for the next user. Make sure not to use alcohol or other abrasive chemicals, as these can also damage the equipment. Also, if your gym doesn’t already have them, bring disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer as well.
If you use your own equipment, it’s also important to disinfect all of it after every use even if you’re the only one using it. Bacteria can breed absurdly fast on warm sweat. Pressing your skin onto a surface damp with sweat can clog it, leading to bacterial infection and other nasty consequences. Also, keep in mind that it only takes a short while for the salt and acid in your sweat to seep into the equipment and discolor or corrode it.
Keep The Exercise Area Clean
Gym-goers all share in the responsibility of keeping the workout area clean. Always change into your gym shoes as soon as you get in the gym. Your street shoes would track in all kinds of dust and dirt otherwise. For a home gym, you want to make sure you give the place a thorough vacuuming when you’re done. Think of it as part of your cooldown.
Changing into your gym clothes at the gym also helps reduce indoor air pollution. If you own the gym, this can be as simple as improving the ventilation. But if you’re just a gym-goer to a gym with less than adequate ventilation, you can do your part in keeping the air relatively clean by ensuring that as little outside pollutants get in through your clothes. Avoid spraying substances with heavy chemical contents as well.
Observe Hygiene In The Showers
The showers are some of the most pathogen-prone places in the gym. To avoid infection, refrain from touching others, and bring your own soap, towel, and other shower gear. If the shower floor looks filthy, rinse it out first before stepping in. And to help keep it clean, refrain from urinating in the shower. You may think that the shower will wash it away, but residue and oftentimes scent can still remain.
Athlete’s foot is a major concern in the showers, because of how damp and dirty the floors can be. To avoid catching this, bring flip flops to protect your feet. You’ll also make it much less likely for others to catch athlete’s foot if you dry off completely before stepping out of the showers, so that you don’t drip on the locker room floor.
Keeping things hygienic in the gym is a two-way street between management and members. If you keep these guidelines, and have a sense of consideration in mind, you’ll be able to do your part in that dynamic.