Germs and Bacteria Hiding at the Gym and What to Do About Them

There’s no escaping it: germs are all around us. Of course, certain places contain higher concentrations of germs and bacteria than others. Gyms, for instance, contain the ideal conditions for many germs to congregate, which highlights the importance of having reliable janitorial maintenance services at the ready in these facilities. Let’s go over the kinds of germs typically found in gyms, where they like to hide, and what to do about them.

What Germs Typically Hide in Gyms?

Because gyms are constantly filled with active and sweaty individuals, a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can be found inside a fitness center. Among the most common germs are:

  • Staph
  • Ringworm
  • Athlete’s Foot
  • Influenza
  • Impetigo
  • Warts
  • Herpes
  • Rash-inducing bacteria

The list goes on, of course. Each of these germs has different ways of passing on from one individual or surface to another, but they should all be avoided with equal caution.

Where Do These Gym Germs Hide?

The annoying (and effective) thing about germs is that you can’t see them with the naked eye. That said, understanding how and where various germs thrive can help you steer clear of them using environmental cues. Though the optimal conditions for a bacterium, virus, or fungus depends on the contaminant in question, note that most germs like warm, damp areas -- precisely why fitness centers are such fertile grounds for germs. Germs can spread in a gym via floors, shared equipment, yoga mats, benches, bathrooms, and other frequently-touched surfaces.

As a general rule of thumb, then, assume that virtually all objects inside a gym are covered in germs -- members and visitors must take it upon themselves to take caution whenever using fitness center facilities and machinery. And owners/managers must devote resources to keeping these surfaces clean and disinfected.

How to Avoid Gym Germs and Bacteria

There is no guaranteed way to avoid contracting an ailment at the gym -- there is always a level of risk involved with entering and using a public fitness center. That said, those inside a fitness center can take various precautions to keep germs at bay. First, individuals should come prepared with their own hand sanitizers and wipes to eliminate germs from their hands and the surfaces they’re about to touch -- most gyms will also provide sanitary and disinfection materials, but these may run out or get misplaced. Next, it’s important to wear secure closed-toed footwear when working out and flip-flops when using showers to avoid coming into direct contact with germs that live on damp floors. You should also use a personal towel and water bottle (do not share with others) at the gym. Lastly, make sure you thoroughly wash your gym clothes after using them, and always wash your hands with soap and water after completing your exercise.

Preventing the Transmission of Germs and Bacteria in Fitness Centers

Those who own or manage gyms should also do everything in their power to keep their facilities germ-free. Preventing the occurrence and transmission of germs requires proper facility management. Gym-users should be provided with wipes, sanitizers, and disinfecting products to maintain their personal germ-avoidance efforts; signage should be posted around the fitness center reminding patrons of proper etiquette (i.e. wiping down machines before and after use, not sharing water bottles, etc.) and hygiene best practices; and building maintenance services should thoroughly clean the facility periodically and/or at the end of each day. Some facility managers may also invest in electrostatic disinfection and other deep disinfection and cleaning methods to eradicate the presence of viruses, bacteria, and fungi after periods of significant activity.

For many people, the benefits of getting regular rigorous exercise outweighs the risk of contracting diseases from various germs found at the gym. Still, the more that individuals, gym owners, and facility managers can do to mitigate these risks, the better. At The Budd Group, we deploy janitorial and maintenance services to all types of facilities, including sports/fitness centers and gyms to ensure that all staff, members, and guests remain healthy and safe. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!

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