Germs at the Gym: Where They Lurk! Gag!
Health club facilities, ironically, might make you sick. Since 90% of gym activity surrounds contact, primarily with objects and equipment, it might be wise to wipe down every, single piece of equipment before beginning your workout — especially since many people simply do not wash their hands after using gym-stall bathrooms! Gag!
According to Dr. Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at New York University, “Eighty percent of all infectious disease is transmitted by contact.” Best advice, always, ALWAYS, wash your hands — completely — after your workout. Here are the 10 filthiest places where germs lurk in gyms:
Quick turnaround, multiple sequence equipment harbors the most germs of all gym equipment. Dr. Tierno, worked with ABC News calls this on of the “highest risk areas” at the gym, “You’re leaving that machine, and someone else follows you and your germs that you leave behind.”
2. Bike seats
Staphylococcus aureus re-charged. MRSA is a strain of this bacteria that is carried on the skin and the nose and is resistant to conventional antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin. It is spread via contact with contaminated equipment, including bike seats, pedals and other objects normally touched while working out. Oh Lord! So no short, shorts!
3. Bench Press
Gravity is the main culprit here as this piece of equipment encourages that the user be laying down. Sweat has no choice but to roll off and lay surreptitiously on the padded, black bench press. Do you know, (this is embarrassing) once I was spotting someone, and my sweat rolled off my forehead, trickled down my nose, clung to my chin and landed right in the “spotees” left eye! Man, I felt like crumb.
4. Shower floor, wall and curtain
One tester classified the amount of germs on the shower floor as “unbelievable quantities,” using the word “innumerable” twice. Tinea Pedis, or Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection of the skin and is highly contagious, and usually spread in locker room environments (and swimming pools). It thrives in warm, humid environments. Now, new research has shown that “water spurting from shower heads can distribute pathogen-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs,” according to Norman Pace from the University of Colorado. Although researchers suggest that this “shouldn’t concern average, healthy people.”
5. Boxing gloves
Sniff, sniff. What’s that smell? It’s the sweat residue left on fabric combined with a dark, enclosed area creating a breeding ground for germs. Bacteria thrives in humid environments such as the insides of boxing gloves. As a matter of fact, a gym swab performed by Men’s Fitness magazine recently discovered that in humid areas the size of quarter, there are 132 million species of bacteria.
6. Gym Mats
Scary! The highly contagious herpes virus, quite possibly, lurks on the very mats you may be using to cushion your knees and stretch your back. Herbert DuPont, a medical science professor at the University of Texas, attributes this possibility to residual sweat that remains on the mats, creating breeding grounds for this viscous, viral disease.
Did you know that gyms and health clubs are not governed by the same regulations as that of hospital? These regulations determine the actual temperature at which towels must be washed. FYI: If your fortunate to belong to a gym that hands out free towels (mine does), be mindful that this is probably quite costly for the facility. Save the environment: BYOT.
According to a survey, running shoes have 76 times more fungi than the inside of a toilet bowl. Bring those into the gym, areas where peoples hands often contact the same surface as peoples feet, and you can see why hand washing should be mandatory prior to getting your parking validated.
9. Water bottles
Ever throw your bottle in your gym bag? The same gym bag with your running shoes? A Canadian study reported “significant levels of fecal bacteria” in water drunk from re-used water bottles.
2.17 million bugs in a teaspoon of hot tub water, this according to a research team from Texas A&M University. Needless to say, these bugs harbor bacteria from feces — all of which was present in a shockingly disturbing 95% of hot tubs and saunas. Added to that, the warm temperature makes this a proverbial petri dish.