63% of all hand contacted equipment is contaminated.
73% of all weight equipment is contaminated.
51% of all aerobic equipment is contaminated.
Inspect before joining – Ask yourself the following questions when touring a prospective gym: Does the facility look clean? How often do they disinfect the locker room? Do they have hand sanitizer stations throughout the gym? Do they provide anti-bacterial soap? Do they have disinfectant readily available for wiping down equipment? If the gym is not setting the standard for client behavior; perhaps you need to keep looking.
Cover up any cuts – Any break in the skin provides an avenue for germs to enter the body. Covering cuts is also a courtesy to others; it also prevents you from leaving any blood on equipment following your rotation.
Use two separate towels – Use one towel to wipe off equipment and the other to wipe sweat from your face. Using only one towel simply transfers germs from the equipment to vulnerable areas of your face (mouth, eyes, and nose).
Bring your own water – Drinking fountains are a major breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Nasty habits on abound at the drinking fountain (people put their mouths directly on the spout, spit phlegm into the drain, etc). Such habits make for easy germ transfer.
Wipe off equipment – Wipe off all equipment before and after use. It is just courteous to wipe down equipment following your rotation. Also, you don't know whether the person before you wiped down the station following their turn. That is why wiping down before your rotation is essential! How many times have you seen someone not wipe down a piece of equipment after they use it? Eewww!
Never go barefoot - Wear flip-flops in the locker room and in the shower to avoid contracting any foot viruses.
Use your towel – Whether or not you are using a piece of equipment or relaxing in the sauna/steam room lay your towel down before you sit or lay down on any gym surfaces.
Shower after – Statistics show that women tend to shower at the gym less frequently than men. However, rarely do men clean their entire body and almost always fail to wash their feet. Why is important to shower after a workout? A shower will wash away the sweat you secreted during your workout. However, make sure you cool down 10-15 minutes before you hop in. The last thing you want is to still be sweating after the shower.
Change into clean clothes – Your sweaty clothes are very inviting for bacteria and viruses that are looking for a warm and damp place to call home. Changing into clean clothes decreases the opportunity for bacteria and viruses to transfer from your clothes to your person.
Don't be afraid to go to the gym! Following these simple steps greatly reduces the possibility of getting sick at the gym or endangering your fellow gym patrons.