The gym is where we go to improve our health and fitness. But what about the risk of germs? There’s no avoiding it, cold & flu season is upon us. When members are informed and the club management is proactive, the risk of getting germs at the club can be reduced. According to the Centers for Disease Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cold and flu season peaks between December & March. If you’re feeling sick, it is best to stay home until your symptoms clear. If you’re feeling well, practice these tips on staying healthy at the gym and everywhere you go.
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5 Ways You Can Stay Healthy (and Protect Others) at the Gym
1) WASH YOUR HANDS.
We all know the importance of washing our hands. Not just a quick rinse, but a thorough scrub! A good practice is to sing the “Happy Birthday’ song 2x in your head while washing your hands. Scrubbing and rubbing the whole time. Protect others by washing your hands before you workout to reduce the spread of germs. Protect yourself by washing your hands immediately after your workout, especially if you don’t have time to shower. Always dry your hands thoroughly. If you’re really in a rush invest in a small bottle of hand sanitizer, but washing your hands is the best prevention!
2) COVER YOUR COUGH.
A cough can send cold and flu germs almost 20 feet through the air! Sneezes are even more powerful sending germs over 25 feet through the air. Be courteous to other gym goers and cover your cough and/or sneeze. If you feel a coughing fit coming on during your group fitness class be respectful and exit the studio until you’re ready to return. Adamant about sticking it out? Wear a surgical mask to keep your cough at bay.
3) SANITIZE MACHINES.
This rule is especially important during the winter. In a perfect world every machine is meticulously cleaned by the person before you, however this is not always the case. Take the time to carefully wipe down machines before you start your workout to ensure you’re not picking up germs from someone else’s sweat! And of course, do the same when you’re done.
But what about other surfaces? In addition to regular cleaning HealthSPORT uses SafeHandles which continuously reduce the presence of microbes on the door handles. This will help protect you & your family from sneaky carriers of infectious germs.
4) BRING YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT.
Everything from towels to Yoga mats to water fountains can harbor germs. Avoid getting sick by bringing as much of your own equipment as possible, especially your own water bottle. Be sure to disinfect your equipment when you get home. Even your dirty gym clothes should be washed immediately after use.
Regular exercise is known to boost the immune system. According to WebMD studies show working out with “moderate intensity” may cut down the number of colds you get. For example, the American Journal of Medicine found women who walked for a half-hour every day for a year experienced half the number of colds as the women who didn’t exercise. Why? Increased number of white blood cells.
The cooler winter months are a great time to build a regular gym routine. By staying mindful of good hygiene practices you can avoid getting sick during cold & flu season and protect your fellow gym goers too.