Updated: Jun 14, 2018
Exercise mats at the gym contain more bacteria than a toilet seat.
It is something that is regularly ignored when working out at the gym - how many people are touching and sweating on all of that equipment and, in reality, how often is it cleaned. Chances are, especially on a busy Saturday morning, several people have used that equipment before you even arrive. Bacteria grows in warm and moist environments, so no prizes for guessing that gym mats are their perfect home.
Human skin is loaded with organisms, many of which come off with your sweat, transferring onto the highly absorbent, porous surface of a mat, and staying there for up to a week. Ready for the next person to jump in and pick them up, resulting in a significant amount of unknown infections, illnesses and fungus being passed around the gym. As Dr Charles P. Geba, public hygiene expert explains 'It’s like sharing your bed sheets with somebody, If you're going to [share], it better be with a relative or a great friend.'
Things you can do to minimise your exposure to these germs:
Get your own mat
Sharing is caring but not when it comes to bacteria and germs. The best thing you can do avoid germs in the gym is to invest in a good quality mat and make sure you bring it with you whenever you hit the gym. It may seem like a more effort, but in the long-run it is far less effort than dealing with sickness. You go to the gym to protect your health after all!
Clean your yoga mat
Next, be sure to clean your mat before and after use. Before you start your practice, give your mat a gentle wipe down, or spray with a drop of lemon in water to disinfect your mat.
If you have a Form mat, then try to pop it in the washing machine if you've had a particularly sweaty practice or feel your mat needs it!
If you don't have your own mat
If you have to use the mats in the gym, then try to always clean your mat before you start to avoid transference of any existing germs onto your skin; mats in the gym are rarely cleaned. Try to avoid touching your face, as this greatly contributes to the transference of germs.
Be sure to wash your hands and face once your finish your workout.
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