By Marisa Bisiani, DNP, ANP-BC
If the new year has you resolved to exercise more and head to the local gym a couple of days a week, it’s wise to remember that while getting active is good for you, the germs that may be there are not.
Here are few tips to keep you healthy while you get healthier:
Can’t touch this: Many of us are conscious of wiping down the arms of the elliptical, but don’t forget every other surface you touch–free weights, levers, mats, balance balls, buttons on remote controls. To minimize your exposure, wash your hands not only before and after your workout, practice good hand hygiene as you move from area to area. Consider attaching a hand sanitizers to your keychain or gym card.
Throw in the towel: Of course, bringing your own towel to wipe your face is a good idea, but some people take that same towel and wipe off equipment as they begin their work out, only to wipe their face after? Be sure to keep your clean towel away from the dirty equipment. Another option is cleaning equipment with disposable sanitizer wipes.
Don’t drink the water: We all remember our mothers telling us NOT to drink from public water fountains so we carry our own water bottles wherever we go. Refillable bottles are great for the environment, but they may not be so great for us if not properly cleaned regularly. When you get home from the gym and throw your clothes in the wash, don’t forget to give your water bottle a run through the dishwasher to avoid bringing the germs from the gym home.
Take cover: Every seasoned gym-goer has a pair of flip flops in the gym bag, understanding that the floors of the locker room and shower can harbor all kinds of germs. Also remember to cover any cuts or scratches, regardless of how small, to avoid any chance of contracting infection.
Get healthy to stay healthy: A British study showed that people who are active nearly decrease their chances of contracting cold viruses in half. A regular workout routine builds muscle and tone, bolsters the immune system and improves quality of sleep. Keep your resolution to stay active and fit and you will reap dividends all year long.
Marisa Bisiani, DNP, ANP-BC is Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health Services at Mather Hospital.