We think we know everything about personal hygiene, especially in the current times we live in; washing our hands for 20 seconds, sanitiser at the ready and face masks on everywhere we go. But have you ever thought about your cleanliness when you work out? We have discovered some shocking facts that may make you think twice before laying on your yoga mat… so here are our 5 rules to live by to help improve your post-workout hygiene.
1. Always wipe down your equipment with disinfectant spray
Many people overlook wiping down machines at the gym, as it can be a time-consuming chore and some may feel embarrassed about wiping their sweat off a machine, especially after a killer cardio session! But there is nothing embarrassing about burning a bunch of calories and having good hygiene.
Did you know, according to a study by EMLab P&K, an exercise bike had, on average, 79 times more bacteria than a water faucet? After you’ve worked up a sweat on any machine in the gym, whether that be cross trainer, treadmill or the stair climber, always make sure you wipe down the machine with disinfectant spray and a paper towel afterwards. Sweaty gym equipment is the ideal place for germs to multiply, which could be harmful to yourself and others.
But the machines in the gym aren’t the only place where germs like to multiply… the same study found that free weights had 362 times more bacteria than a public toilet! So, give the weights a quick wipe down with an antibacterial wipe before you use them (these can be purchased at most supermarkets or drug stores) or wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial gel before and after each use.
2. Clean your yoga mat
Your yoga matt is a place to relax, unwind and clear your head. But if not washed regularly, this matt can become full of sweat and germs. Studies have found that some yoga matts have numerous small holes in them, which can become a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
The best thing to do is to purchase your own yoga matt to bring to the gym or yoga studio with you. If you do not own a yoga matt, wipe down your matt with some antibacterial spray before and after use, like you would with the machines at the gym.
3. Wash your gym kit after every workout – and your undies!
We all know to wash our clothes when they get dirty, but how often should we wash our workout gear? It is important to wash your gym kit ASAP after you have worked out. Do not leave it lying around in your room or mixed with other clean clothes. Germs love moist, dark places, so the gym bag is their paradise! If you are leaving the gym and heading off to work, put your used kit in a plastic bag before placing it into your gym bag to avoid the sweat and bacteria from getting on any other personal possessions.
Many may think that just changing your clothing is enough, but you mustn’t forget to put on a fresh pair of undies too. Underwear should be washed with your gym kit straight after a workout. There is a high concentration of bacteria in your groin area to begin with, and more friction occurs in this area when you are moving about. It is important to take care of intimate areas after a workout, so remember to pack a spare pair of underwear with your change of clothes!
4. Flip flops are your friends
Although you may be exhausted, you must resist the urge to crash in bed or on the sofa after a workout until after you have showered. Bacteria breeds in your sweaty clothes, which you do not want to spread onto your lovely coach or duvet.
If you decide to shower at the gym, bring some flip flops with you to avoid walking bare foot. Wearing flip flops to and from showers will help stop spread transitions of infection through feet. You want to come home from the gym with abs of steel… not a fungal infection!
5. Wipe your headphones
Your headphones may be your favourite workout accessory, but many underestimate the number of germs crawling around your earpieces, which could put your health at risk! Whilst you are working out, dirt and bacteria collect in your headphones, which can be transferred to your ears and create the perfect environment for infections.
To reduce this risk, keep your headphones clean by wiping them with antibacterial wipes. If your headphones go inside your ear, do NOT share them with others, keep them to yourself – like you would with your toothbrush!
If possible, keep your headphones inside a case when you are carrying them around to keep bacteria and dirt off of them.
We understand that banging on about hygiene may be the last thing you want to hear right now given the current climate. However, with gyms reopening, workout hygiene is now more important than ever. You wouldn’t work out using a public toilet seat… so don’t lift weights without disinfecting them! At Auro, we want to help you along every step of the way during your fitness journey, your health matters to us. Download the app today to start your free trial.