Wipe Away Germs

Jessica joined a Chicago gym right after Christmas 2009. She had gained a few pounds over the holidays and was determined to shed them quickly. She decided joining the gym, along with eating properly, was the way to do it.

Exercise equipment can be a breeding ground for germs.

Every day at 7 a.m., she ran on the treadmill for about 20 minutes then rode the stationary bike for another 20 minutes. She finished up with free weights. With time, the weight was gone, and Jessica was so impressed with her body and the way she felt about herself that going to the gym every morning became like breathing.

Another part of her routine was cleaning any piece of gym equipment before using it–and very often after as well–with a disinfectant wipe provided by the facility.

Having cleaning or disinfecting wipes readily available for gym members or in a park and recreation facility is not a reflection of inferior cleaning and maintenance of the facility.

“Gyms are like any environment that caters to many people,” says Paul LeBlanc, president of Zogics, a manufacturer of gym wipes and other cleaning and disinfecting products. “There are going to be germs, and these germs can spread from one person to another.”

In fact, because gym users tend to perspire when working out, there is an even greater possibility that germs can spread. Perspiration, which is warm and moist, is a perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

Using wipes can help disinfect gym surfaces.

According to a recent paper on skin disease published by the National Athletic Trainers Association and reported on CBS Network’s The Early Show (Aug. 7, 2010), “It is imperative that gym users wipe down machines and mats if they want to guard against infection.”

As for exercise machines, the report indicated, “There are usually a lot of resident bacteria [on these machines, and] studies show that this is the germiest place in the gym.”

Know “What” You Are Working Out With

One of the greatest germ concerns in these facilities is Streptococcus. It can cause skin infections and can result in strep throat, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever and even pneumonia.

Staphylococcus, which often tags along with Streptococcus, can cause folliculitis, which occurs when hair follicles become infected. Folliculitis can spread across the body and may also cause staph infections on the skin.

According to Dr. Kavita Mariwala, a New York City dermatologist who was interviewed on The Early Show, some of the other germs left behind on gym equipment that can also lead to illness include:

• Influenza, which can also cause ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia

• Flu and cold viruses, often located on the handlebars of machines after infected users sneeze or cough

• E. coli, which has been known to lurk on the black foam coatings on handlebars

• Rhinoviruses, sometimes called the “guiltiest” viruses, because they are so common and can cause colds as well as throat infections.

When you realize all the potential health risks in a gym, it almost makes you wonder why people would want to be in one. Fortunately, the use of wipes, either by gym users or staff, is often all it takes to eliminate these health risks.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. When Exercise Isn’t Healthy
  2. Clean, Sanitize, Or Disinfect
  3. Park Bathrooms
  4. Top 10 Trends In Recreation Restrooms
  5. Cleaning Without Chemicals
  • Columns
  • Departments