You know working out at the gym is important to your overall health and well being. But with so many people using the equipment and facilities, it can also be a rather unsanitary environment where germs thrive.

So what to do? Here are some ways to stay germ-free at the gym, courtesy of southern orthopedic specialists physicians.

Clean equipment before use

Cleaning the equipment to avoid germs

Gym etiquette calls for wiping down exercise equipment after you use it. But we all know that doesn’t always happen. So either use the antiseptic spray provided by the gym or consider bringing your own. Wipe down each machine before you use it. Also, to be extra careful, don’t touch your face until washing your hands after using gym equipment.

Wear shoes

If you shower in the locker room or take your shoes off to do yoga or Pilates, make sure your feet are covered. Wear flip flops or socks if you’re not wearing shoes. Otherwise, you expose yourself to the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.

Clean your gear

Don’t bring germs home with you. The sweaty clothes you take off in the locker room are likely filled with gym germs. Instead of just cramming them into a gym bag, place them in a plastic bag first. Put your shoes in the plastic bag too. When you get home, wash your clothes in hot water. Wipe your shoes and the inside and outside of your gym bag with disinfecting wipes.

Use metal bottles

Plastic bottles retain bacteria so don’t use them if you can avoid it. Instead, put your water in a metal bottle which can be effectively cleaned with hot, soapy water. Also, watch out for people who may swipe your water at the gym. According to a national survey, nearly half of people who regularly use gyms admit to swiping water from a stranger’s bottle. And try to avoid drinking from a water fountain at the gym. In a perfect world, your gym would offer a stand-up water cooler to lessen the spread of germs.

Be smart with your towel

If you use your towel as a barrier between yourself and a piece of equipment, don’t then wipe your face with it. That’s like wiping your face on a gym mat.

Looking to start an exercise program? Check out these tips on how to begin an exercise program this summer, courtesy of our Jacksonville orthopedic practice.

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