We all know that gyms can get a little sweaty. And there’s always one that likes to leave a trace of their hard efforts on the treadmill you’re about to use (erm, gym towel anyone?). Yet, you might be a tad surprised to learn about the variety of other nasties lurking on your gym equipment!
A while back, researchers at FitRated gathered bacteria samples from 27 different pieces of gym equipment at three different gyms. They wanted to get a deeper insight into the germs festering on the handles of your treadmill, the buttons on your bike and your favourite free weights.
Here’s what they discovered…
The gram-positive cocci is the most common cause of skin infections. It can also lead to pneumonia and septicemia.
The gram-negative rods are such powerful bacteria, that they’ve been known to resist antibiotics!
Gram-positive rods aren’t usually harmful to us human beings, with a few small exceptions.
Bacillus is usually found in nature (soil, dirt) and has strains which can be both harmful to us, and do us some good.
It turns out the average treadmill, exercise bike, and free weight are all teeming with germs… more than 1 million per square inch a piece.
All three types of equipment had the first three types of bacteria listed above. The exercise bikes and free weight samples also turned up Bacillus, a potential cause of various conditions, including ear, eye, and respiratory infections.
Of course, whether we whip out the hand sanitizer routinely or not, germs are everywhere. It’s how many and in what form we should be concerned about.
So, for a little perspective, the research team put together an outline of the bacteria levels they found, compared with the amount of bacteria found on every day items.
The average exercise bike holds 39 times more bacteria than a cafeteria tray. Typical free weights have 362 times more germs than a toilet seat. And the treadmill you’re about to step on has 74 times more bacteria than a public toilet tap!
As we say, you go to the gym to sweat. So do hundreds of other people before, and after you. So it’s not easy to keep all equipment sparkling clean, all of the time.
To keep yourself suitably germ free, it just takes a little courtesy for your fellow gym-goers, and a little care for yourself…
Wipe down your machine after use, leaving it free from sweat, water, juice or whatever else may be waiting for the next user.
Don’t wipe your face with the palm of your hand, where you’ve been gripping the handles of equipment. It’s easy to transfer germs to the face without even realising.
Change out of your gym gear after working out, rather than lounging in your tracksuit where germs can spread to your car and home.
Use the hand sanitisers supplied when entering and leaving the gym.
Wash your water bottle after each use. Bacteria can make it’s way inside the bottle, leaving nasties in your beverage!
Don’t fret – we all need a little bacteria to stay healthy. Though a little courtesy and hygiene awareness certainly won’t do you any harm.