Health Hazards of Workout Facilities
As gyms and workout facilities stay open longer hours, many even twenty four hours, more people are frequenting them to meet their fitness needs. However, what do these places do to help their health needs? Before you make your next trip to the local gym, there are a few things you need to keep in mind for your own sanitary safety.
Germs, Germs, and More Germs
In any public place, germs are unavoidable. Every door handle or chair has the potential to spread bacteria and other germs. In a facility with exercise equipment, that potential is multiplied substantially simply because of the amount of sweat that is involved. When you sit down on a machine or station at a gym, there is no way of knowing how many people have used it before, or if those people were healthy. All it takes is their sweat rubbing off on you when you touch the equipment, and for you to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs have the ability to spread fast, and do not require a lot of contact. If a person that used the equipment before you was sick in any way, that sickness can be transferred to you quite easily.
In addition to the lack of cleanliness that is present in some gyms, other health related issues can have a negative effect on your workout. Competition is a good thing, especially when you are competing with yourself and always striving to reach new levels. But for many people, competing against others can be an unhealthy experience. In the gym, you will see all kinds of different people working out on all different levels. They can inspire or discourage you, depending on how you choose to interpret the situation. Trying to lift the same amount of weight someone else is lifting to compete with them puts your own safety at risk, and increases the likeliness of a serious injury. Never compare your fitness goals with someone else's; do what is best for you. Social distractions and a loss of concentration contribute to the unhealthy effects that a public gym can have, unless you use a strong mindset to focus when you are there.
Make sure to do everything possible to ensure that every workout is a healthy one by bringing two different colored towels with you. One is used to wipe your own sweat and the other is used to clean the equipment as you are getting ready to exercise with it. Besides using the actual equipment, be careful when showering, and wear sandals or water shoes to avoid fungus that can accumulate on the floor. The same rule applies to a sauna, where towels are an important part of protecting yourself. Try to limit drinking from a gym water fountain. It is much better to bring your own water from home or purchase the bottled water there. Finally, shower before leaving, if possible. Carrying the sweat and germs with you is another risk you do not want to take. Not all gyms are unsanitary in the ways described above, and the intention here is not intended to create paranoia for anyone who uses workout facilities. Many gyms take the time to provide clean towels and disinfectant to their members, and these should be used at all times.