It’s January and the start of the year and with that comes new years’ resolutions. How many of us made them this year and how many of us thought keeping fit would be a good idea and joined the gym?
At this time of the year gyms are thriving, more than eight million people in the UK are registered at a health or fitness club representing over 13% of the population and more and more hotels and companies are offering gym facilities too for their customers or staff to keep fit.
Typical gym equipment includes exercise bikes, cross-trainers, treadmills and weights and all of these items are used by large numbers of people during the course of a day. Many of these gym-goers will postpone their showers till after their workout so you might be getting fit but what hygiene risks does this pose for other members?
Free weights in the gym typically harbour more than 300 times the amount of bacteria a toilet seat would and treadmills and exercise bikes were also found to be alarmingly ‘germy’ according to recent research. Gram-positive cocci, a type of bacteria commonly linked with skin infections and illnesses, gram-negative rods associated with resisting antibiotics and causing infections and Bacillus which can cause ear, eye and respiratory infections were all found.
Changing rooms are humid creating the ideal environment for germs to flourish and outdoor clothing is kept in lockers which are unlikely to have been cleaned regularly, exercise mats are rarely cleaned in between use and the same baskets are used to transport clean and dirty towels.
There is no legal requirement for gym proprietors to guarantee a minimum standard of cleaning but here at USS we work in partnership with our clients in the leisure industry to encourage best practice and ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene are met.
And for those of you that are regular gym goers, here’s out top tips on how to stay clean at the gym and reduce your risk of infection this year whilst still keeping fit and healthy:-
- Always use the hand sanitisers available or take your own
- Wipe down the equipment with sanitising spray before use
- Use your own exercise mat
- Use your own towel and one with a pattern on one side is even better as you can use one side for your body and the other side for use on the equipment
- Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes during your workout
- Thoroughly wash and dry your hands after your workout