Dirty Gym Equipment: Is It Really a Big Deal?

A typical dumbbell or barbell can have up to 362 times more bacteria than a standard toilet seat, and 70% of gym equipment germs may be harmful to humans, according to a study published by FitRated. Now, you donít have to be a germaphobe to know that thatís bad news. Harmful bacteria can make you sick, and those sick days, in addition to injuries, can easily sabotage your gains.

What you can do

First of all, be sure to wipe any equipment you use down with a good disinfectant solution before and after doing your exercises. Also, use a towel to cover any surface that you are planning to sit or lie down on whenever you can. Dirty gym equipment are a recipe for disaster because based on a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), intense physical activities, such as gym workouts, may actually increase a personís susceptibility to infections.

Secondly, be sure to never put your hands in your mouth, touch food or rub your eyes until after you have thoroughly washed your hands. Keep in mind that even if you take extra care to disinfect and wipe everything down, thereís still no way to be 100% sure that you wonít come into contact with any harmful bacteria or viruses during your training session. Better safe than sorry, right?

Finally, if youíre sick, just donít go to the gym. Not only will it keep you from infecting other people, it will also prevent your condition from getting worse. Your body is already busy fighting off an infection. The last thing it needs is more contaminants coming into the picture.

What about home gyms?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, especially those that you regularly come into physical contact with, as one of the many ways to effectively prevent the spread of diseases at home. This includes chairs, tables toilets and door knobs. Of course, if you have a home gym, this also includes all your training gear.

So, make cleaning your fitness equipment regularly a habit. Just because your gear is at home doesnít mean that theyíre much cleaner than those found in commercial gyms. At the end of the day, it doesnít matter where a piece of gear is located. If you leave it all sweaty and dirty, it automatically becomes a good spot for microorganisms to grow and multiply in.

The bottomline: yes, it is a big deal

If you want to keep yourself from getting sick or infecting other gym-goers when you are, then be sure to observe proper gym hygiene at all times. Disinfect and wipe the equipment down before and after you use them, use a towel as a cover whenever you can and, of course, just stay away from the gym if youíre too sick to work out.