What Germs Are on Your Hands?
Attention fitness professionals! If you don’t already wipe gym equipment before your workout, you might want to start. Some dangerous bacteria, fungi and viruses thrive in the warm, sweaty bags of athletic gear, yoga mats and water bottles.
A UK survey of 2000 people learned that:
- 74% of people polled said they had noticed that their fellow gym-goers committed a gym faux pas, like failing to wipe down sweaty equipment.
- 49% admitted to having used water bottles, towels, and toiletries that weren’t actually theirs.
- 18% had gone to the gym despite being sick and coughing and sneezing.
- 16% said they didn’t wash their gym clothes between workouts.
Good Gym Hygiene Can Limit Your Exposure to Germs
Practicing good gym hygiene can limit your exposure to germs that cause cold, flu, norovirus, athlete’s foot, and staph infection—not to mention make you a better neighbour to your fellow fitness junkies. In recent years cases of the total drug resistant tuberculosis, untreatable strains of gonorrhea and a new wave of “superbugs” with a mutation called NDM 1, which first emerged in India, have appeared all over the world, from New Zealand to Britain.
Bacterial Infections Increasingly Evolve Into Super Bugs
A far higher concern than HIV and AIDS, the best known super bug, MRSA, has been found in gyms and estimated to kill approximately 19,000 people every year in both Europe and in United States. In the past 2 decades only a few new antibiotics have been developed and brought to market. Global action of researching and developing new medicines to treat emerging, mutating infections is needed to fight antimicrobial or antibiotic, resistance and fill a drug “discovery void”. It’s a race against time to find more, as bacterial infections increasingly evolve into super bugs resistant to existing drugs.
To reduce transmission of antibiotic resistance super bugs, it is urged to take fewer antibiotics and making sure they are only prescribed when needed. Personal trainers are advised to work hard in taking caution toward infectious diseases by practicing better gym hygiene. This will keep infections to a minimum. Avoid training clients with runny noses or open wounds.
Personal Trainers’ Best Practice
To keep clients healthy while hitting the gym, Personal Trainers‘ best practice suggests:
- Don’t shower with bare feet, use flip flops.
- Don’t share mats and be sure to disinfect your own with hot water and soap. If the mat doesn’t pass the scent test then it’s time for a cleaning.
- Use a sauna above 55 C where bacteria can not survive well. If the temperature is just around 30 C then the germs can grow rapidly.
- Use paper towels & disinfectant to clean shared equipment like dumbbells.
- Launder towels.
- Sanitize gym bags at least once a month.