By Alexis Wolfer

Last week, The New York Times profiled the dangers of the gym. Don’t get too excited here ladies (or at least those of you who dread the daily workout), we’re not suggesting you skip out on your fitness routines. What we are suggesting, however, is that you get in on the dirty truth behind the germs lurking at the gym and learn how to protect yourself – especially since the bacteria on your gym’s bench-press can cause everything from an itchy Athlete’s Foot (we know, gross!) to a life-threatening MRSA infection, a staphylococcus infection resistant to most antibiotics (scary!).

7 Things You Need To Know:

Ask questions. Talk with your gym about their cleaning practices. Find out when and how they are cleaning the equipment.  If you’re not satisfied, either consider switching gyms or bring your own cleaning wipes.

10 more questions you should ask before joining a gym.

Get cleaning. Your gym should provide cleaning wipes or sprays (approved by the Environmental Protection Agency) to wipe down the equipment. Use them (or bring your own) to disinfect the equipment both before and after use.

Come prepared. If your gym doesn’t provide adequate cleaning supplies, bring your own. If your gym doesn’t clean exercise mats between classes, bring your own yoga mat that you can clean yourself. Additionally, pack a gym bag with all the necessary materials to stay safe and healthy, like antibacterial soap, towels, razors and water bottles.

Tips for packing the perfect gym bag!

Shower up. Immediately after working out (before you even head home), shower thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water.  The sooner you shower, the more protected you’ll be. Be sure to dry yourself off adequately as well to eliminate moist areas prone to bacteria growth.

Keep clean. Keep your clean clothes in a bag separate from your dirty ones to keep the risk of cross contamination low.

Wear shoes. Protect your feet from infection with shower shoes or flip-flops, but be sure they don’t interfere with your ability to adequately clean your feet with anti-bacterial soap.

Protect others. If you have any skin-health concerns, stay away until cleared by a doctor – you wouldn’t want someone else to put you at risk, so offer the same courtesy to others!

7 things NOT to do at the gym!

To see the entire article from the New York Times, click here.

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