Better health is the best reward for proper gym etiquette

By • Published: January 14th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

They are as ubiquitous as they are obnoxious: Gym etiquette offenders. You know, the men and women who give little… if any… thought to how their actions affect others. But being an ill-mannered gym-goer won’t just make you unpopular; it could also make you sick. Between all the people, sweat and germs, gyms can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Follow a few simple rules and you can make going to the gym a lot safer for you and the people around you.

First, remember to take a clean towel or mat. You can place these on a weight machine or on the floor if you’re planning to do sit-ups or stretch. For added measure, spend the money for an antimicrobial mat that prevents bacteria growth and odor.

Next, always wipe down equipment. All gyms should have spray bottles of disinfectant and paper towels available. Don’t assume the person before you took the time to clean. Wipe the machine before you use it and clean it again as soon as you are done.

Be sure to wear fresh clothes to the gym and get out of them as soon as possible. Sweaty workout gear is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Besides, do you really want to get stuck on the treadmill next to the guy wearing the same pair of gym shorts for the third workout in a row? Neither does anyone else.

Stay home if you are sick. If you have a cold or the flu, it will be better for your body to stay home and rest. If you’re intent on exercising, do it at home or outdoors. Just be sure not to spread your germs to other people.

Finally, be sure to wash your hands frequently. Most gyms have bottles of hand sanitizer. With a little common sense and attention to detail, going to the gym can be a happier and healthier experience for everyone.