Sports medicine expert reveals 5 ways to tell if a gym is clean

Whether we want to maintain a beach body or sweat to perform better in bed, many of us are hitting the gym this summer.

Now, Melanie McNeal, manager of physical and occupational therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, shares how to keep yourself and others healthy in the shared, sweaty, sacred space of the gym.

She emphasizes that good hygiene in the gym starts at home.

Wear a new pair of shoes every time you exercise. ty –

McNeal advises changing into clean clothes after every workout, as used clothing collects sweat and bacteria. These substances not only smell unpleasant, but can also transmit germs to other gym-goers.

She also advises giving the fitness equipment a quick check before you get started.

If you notice any moisture or cleaning agent residue left on the spot, allow it to air dry and let it do its work.

The residue indicates that the cleaner needs more time to kill bacteria. It takes about two minutes for solutions to kill bacteria in the gym, and McNeal advises waiting that long before using equipment or a weight bench.

For best results, do not spray the cleaning solution directly onto the fitness equipment. Beaunitta VW/ –

McNeal warns against spraying the cleaning solution directly on the equipment after exercising, as the excess moisture can damage the equipment.

Instead, take a disinfectant wipe or napkin moistened with a solution and wipe the areas where sweat has gotten on or where your skin has come into contact.

The same goes for tears.

If you like to shower after a sweat session, McNeal recommends wearing flip-flops to protect your toes. Gyms are notorious breeding grounds for fungus and other bacteria that can infect feet, so it’s best to create a barrier.

Flip-flops are essential when showering at the gym. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Is your gym clean enough? AntonioDiaz –

McNeal points out, “Good hygiene prevents illnesses like colds, flu, and even salmonella, but cleanliness can also indicate that a gym is generally well maintained, including the quality of the equipment. If hygiene rules are not followed, you could get sick, make others sick, or even cancel your membership.”

To determine whether your gym is prioritizing hygiene, McNeal suggests looking for these five warning signs.

  • If disinfectant wipes are not always available for members or staff to wipe down equipment after use, it often means that equipment is harboring invisible bacteria.
  • The lack of signs telling members to clean equipment after each use suggests that cleanliness is not a priority.
  • When gym members use equipment and don’t clean it afterwards, it’s a sign that there is no cleaning culture.
  • Equipment that is full of dust is a clear sign that the facility is not clean.
  • Machines and equipment that are broken and unused for extended periods of time may indicate a lack of interest from management in properly maintaining a space.

McNeal advises gym-goers to take precautions and set standards for themselves and their location, regardless of the season.

“Expect a clean gym and report any concerns to management,” she said. “Feel free to ask management questions about the cleaning schedule and always clean up after yourself. Leave the equipment as you would want to find it when you walk in.”

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