With the coronavirus and the seasonal flu now being confirmed in almost every corner of the world, it is especially important to be vigilant about gym hygiene. Follow these suggestions to maintain your workout program, while minimizing your risk of coming down with a bug.
WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR WORKOUT.
Most people remember to wash their hands after they leave the gym, but few think about it before they get their workout in.
On your way to the gym, you have most likely touched surfaces that are not clean, like the door, the counter, or the railing on the way down the stairs.
Keep your gym community safer by keeping the germs out.
FIX YOUR HAIR BEFORE YOU GO OUT ONTO THE GYM FLOOR
Ladies and gentlemen with long locks, viruses are spread in various ways, but one of the most common is by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face.
You're in the middle of a set or you're on the treadmill committed to a 1 minute sprint interval when you notice your hair is in your eyes. You react normally by moving it with your unwashed hands. YIKES! That can be all that it takes.
Pull your hair back when your hands are clean, so that it stays out of your way for the duration of your workout, to minimize the chances that you unknowingly touch your face.
LEAVE YOUR CELL PHONES IN YOUR POCKET OR IN YOUR LOCKER
Trust me I know, your muscles look amazing in this lighting and you need to snap a picture or maybe this song was just on this morning and it is not what you need to get through these power cleans. Perhaps you're trying to multi task and plan your evening out with friends, or maybe you're just tracking your weights. These are just a handful of reasons why you might want to touch your phone during your workout. RESIST!
We are on our phones constantly, but not many of us regularly sanitize them. When you touch your phone during your workout, then wash your hands, then touch your phone again, your hands may come into contact with the same germs you just washed away. A lot of people are on their phones while eating which is a great time to expose yourself or if you use your phone for making phone calls - which seems oddly rare these days, then you will be placing these germs right up against your... you guessed it... FACE.
WIPE YOUR FREE WEIGHTS AND BARBELLS TOO
It is pretty easy to remember to wipe your cardio machine or your weight machine, heck you just sweat all over it and you wouldn't leave that mess for the next user.
It's even easier to forget to wipe your dumbbells or barbells. You don't really sweat on them. You go from 10's, for your warm up, to 15's because it's what you did last week, to 20's because you're feeling awesome all in one set. By the time you are done you don't even remember which weights you touched. Was it that set of 10's or the set on the floor?
In all of my time in gyms, I have never once seen someone wipe the grips of a dumbbell or barbell, but it is a great time to start adding that to your gym hygiene mental check list. Make sure you wipe them down both before and after use to help stay protected.
GIVE PEOPLE THEIR SPACE
Viruses like cold, flu and the coronavirus, are spread via tiny little droplets from infected people. These droplets are coughed, sneezed or exhaled and can land on surfaces that are touched or be directly inhaled by someone close by. They recommend staying 6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing which seems easy. The tricky part is not all infected people have symptoms, so the guy or gal to your left could unfortunately be spreading something your way.
When we are working out, our lungs are working too, bringing in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. The harder you are working the more oxygen you require and the more carbon dioxide you are emitting. If you are struggling to move the weight, you may be breathing especially rapid and heavy even letting out a forceful grunt here or there. All of this increased exhalation, is increasing the amounts of tiny little droplets in the air around you. Since the droplets can be contaminated, even if they are coming from a healthy seeming person, it's best to just give everyone some extra space. No one likes to be working out on top of someone anyway right?
IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME
Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a dream body.
It is okay to miss a workout. Your health and the health of those in your gym community is far more important than your biceps. When you are sick and you are pushing yourself at work, at home, or in the gym you are often delaying your recovery time. Working out can also be dehydrating, which depending on your sickness can be extremely detrimental towards getting better. You need to take care of yourself AND be considerate of the others around you. You have no idea if they might be caring for someone who is elderly or someone with a weakened immune system.
Remember if you are sick - it's best to rest!