When it comes to fitness, there are so many variables to consider—how often you’re getting your workout in, what intensity you’re exercising at, what types of lifts or classes you’re doing… and then, something you might not have considered before: your gym etiquette and cleanliness.
When everyone’s using the same equipment and areas, germs tend to spread fast. So regardless of where you are or what you’re doing, here are four ways to avoid germs while working out.
1. Spray everything down before and after use.
An antimicrobial spray does the trick. With a few squirts before and after you use equipment—dumbbells, yoga mats, workout bands, etc.—you can reduce the amount of germs being spread and feel better about your workout.
2. Use your own towel.
If a spray or cleaning wipes aren’t available, another great way to avoid germs while working out is to bring your own towel. Rather than relying on the people before you to clean, or the specific gym/studio having enough resources, bringing your own towel will reduce the contact between your skin and the equipment. It will also help to keep things nice for the next person, too.
3. Bring your own mat.
If you’re doing yoga, or even if you’re stretching after a good workout, think about bringing your own mat rather than using a shared one. One of the most germ-filled areas in a gym/studio are the yoga mats! And it’s an easy fix to grab one (here’s one for only $7 on Amazon!)
4. Be smart about your water bottle.
When you’re working out, you’re touching plenty of equipment—from bars to weights, mats to floor surfaces—and you want to be sure that your hands aren’t coming in contact with anything you’re putting in your mouth (aka your water bottle).
Try to swap a bottle that has a pull-tab straw for something with a wide mouth or screw top. Something that has a push top might work, too, because you can leave it open during the workout and not have to worry about it spilling, either.
5. Separate your dirty clothes and shoes from other items.
If you’re changing before or after a workout, create a separate area (bag, compartment, etc.) for your sweaty clothes and gym shoes. Sweaty clothes are great places for bacteria to grow, and you want to avoid that! Even if it’s something as small as a drawstring bag, it’s helpful to have a separate, contained space.
For more workout tips, click here.