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How To Avoid Germs and Prevent Yourself from Catching a Sickness at the Gym

October 1st, 2008 · 5 Comments ·


Gym is a place where we exercise so that we can be healthy and stay in shape. However, because gym is also a public place which all equipments are shared, without proper maintenance and caution, we may catch germs or virus. In fact, a gym may look clean with mopped floor, but sweaty hands and bodies are continually using those equipments.

Here are top 5 main culprits when come to germs:

  1. On a stationary exercise bike and other cardio equipments, you may find multiple viruses, some of which can cause for both staph and yeast infection.
  2. Most gyms, in fact, 99% of them, do not clean their mats after every use.  Most clean them once a day, once a week or even once a month!  Because a person’s entire body may come in contact with the mat, there is a chance that sweat are absorbed by the mat.  So, it is possible get an skin infection with a public mat.
  3. In addition to mat, the other equipment is the dumbbell, especially the handles.
  4. Also, the locker.  I have seen people placing sweaty exercise attire in the locker, leaving pool of sweat there.
  5. Last but not least, drinking fountains.  Some people actually have their mouth come in contact with the water fountain.  Just imagine how much germs potentially is there.


However, rest assured, I have compiled some of the tips to help you avoiding catching germ at your gym. No doubt, our bodies should become immune to most common germs, but it is still important to know some of the tips:

Top 10 Tips to Avoid Germs at Gym

    1. While you are working out, try not to touch your face, eyes or mouth.
    2. Wash your hands before and after you have exercised. Some people may recommend you to wash your hands periodically while working out. While I agree, I just do not think it should be that often to a stage that you are making yourself crazy.
    3. Carry a towel with you. Wipe your sweat off after you have used the equipment. Pools of perspiration which are given off make ideal breeding conditions for bacteria. I have seen people taking two towels along – one to wipe the equipment before she uses it and one to wipe the equipment after she has used it. Not a bad idea, but make sure you buy enough towels then.  Talking about this, some gym actually has paper towels and cleanser so that gym members can use it to clean the seats or handles.


    4. If you are taking a yoga or Pilates class, bring your own mat. Otherwise, clean the mat (provided by the gym) before the class.
    5. If you go for a steam bath or sauna, put a towel on the seat before you sit on it.
    6. Use a water bottle with proper cover. Avoid those which your mouth touches the same part of the cap as your fingers will touch to open and close it.

  1. Wear fit flops or shower shoes and not baring your feet in the changing room. It is easy to pick up athlete’s foot there.
  2. Do not share towels.
  3. Keep your gym gear in dry condition after you have used them. Unpack your bag daily to air out shoes and gloves. Wash the clothes right after you wore them. Germs thrive in moisture.
  4. When you are not feeling well, especially if you are coughing or sneezing often, skip the gym. Not only you may make things worse, you may spread the germ to others. So, allow your body the chance to rest and recover.  Check out my other relevant article on this – Should I Still Exercise Even When I Have Cold or Flu?

Germs are everywhere. We may not be able to stop people from coughing or sneezing at the gym, but we should do everything in our power to keep the gym a better place for everyone.



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Category: Gym Going

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5 responses so far ↓
  • Yin Teing // Oct 2, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Yikes, I am guilty of always walking barefoot in the changing area. The ‘smell’ at the machines from fresh sweat really grossed me out- that’s why I do my best to go when there are less people around. Yes, there are times when I accidentally touch my face after touching the handles, a red patch developed and it can get sort of pain and itchy.

  • Hugo // Oct 3, 2008 at 10:53 PM

    Hey Mun,

    Great post and one that should be taken more seriously as many germs get spread through the gym, especially from those gym goers who think they are doing themselves a favour by trying to train through their illness.

    At hospitals in the UK they now have anti bacterial hand wash stations to help stop MRSA and other germs being spread in the hospital. It maybe a good idea for the gyms around the world to supply the same.

    Keep up the good work!


  • Tom Parker // Oct 4, 2008 at 10:08 PM

    I agree with Hugo. Most people don’t even think about the potential germs at the gym but it really is something that should be given more thought.

  • vincent cicero // Oct 10, 2008 at 10:58 PM

    OK I like what your reporting. I suppose that same observation prompted me to look for cleaner ways to complement my work out.

  • Sally // Oct 22, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Ya, being around other people’s sweat is a huge turn off for me. I prefer to workout at home with my workout videos. I’m loving the 10 Minute Trainer right now!

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