Germs at the Gym Aren't a Good Excuse to Stop Going

gym equipmentAfter I go to the gym, I always feel gross. You know, that good kind of gross where you can't wait to take a shower but you're exhilarated because you managed to get your rump off the couch. But aside from the sweaty tresses, there's another reason why we feel dirty when we're working out: The gym is one of the germiest places there is, a breeding ground for bacteria! Ickier still, certain spots in our places of exercise are even germier than others.

I'm gonna be honest: Nothing can stop me from hitting the gym three or four times a week. But knowing where crowds of germs are lurking and multiplying will help me be a little more aware -- and sanitary -- the next time I work out.

The 5 most germ-friendly parts of the gym, according to research done by a cleaning company (ulterior motives, anyone?):

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1. The locker room

2. Water fountains

3. Child care centers

4. Weight machines and free weights

5. Mats

Am I surprised by which areas made their list? Not really. But when you actually think about it, the gym in its entirety is just all-around germy. The Nancy Drew in me notices that one of the only things not on the list, really, is the cardio machines. For a good reason, too, considering that these are among the few pieces of equipment we're likely to see our fellow gym-goers wiping down with cleaning solution and towels.

But the revelation that the environment at the gym isn't exactly infection-free would never make me quit it. Aside from the exercise and health benefits, it's a great place to let out extra aggression and, whether or not you're single, an even better place to people-watch. 

It's all about being smart when you're getting your swell on. My top tips? If you're like me, i.e. a bit of a germophobe, then bring your own swag -- like sweat towel, water bottle, and gym bag. When you're changing, keep things in your bag, not on top of the locker room benches or, shudder, on the floor. And most importantly, wash your hands before, during, and after you work out. If you're sweating a lot, make sure to wipe your face with your towel, and not the dirty hand that was just holding the unwashed-since-the-joint-opened dumbbell.

Do you ever wonder how clean your gym is?


Image via midiman/Flickr

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