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Healthy You

Healthy Habits: Getting Started on the Clean Foot

Thursday, January 05, 2017 10:29 AM

Whether you are starting at the gym for the first time or you are an old pro, it is important to practice healthy gym hygiene. Following healthy habits at the gym gets you started on the right, clean foot and helps prevents sickness.


Eric Hoeper, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, shares best practices for healthy gym hygiene:

  • Wash and repeat. Wash your hands when you get to the gym to wash away any germs that you may be bringing in. When you are done working out, wash your hands before leaving to get rid of any germs you may have picked up. If you cannot use hot water and soap, sanitizer will work too.
  • Wipe it down. Before and after getting on a machine, using weights or a mat, wipe them down. If you can, bring your own exercise mat and other equipment.
  • Shower as soon as you can after a workout. Sitting in your sweaty clothes for a long period of time allows for bacteria to fester and grow. Wash your body thoroughly, as your body sweats everywhere, and dry off well afterwards.
  • Protect your feet in the shower with shower shoes or flip-flops. Every once in awhile soak your shower shoes in a solution that contains 10% bleach.
  • Pack your gym clothes and shoes separately. Bring plastic bags to put your gym clothes and gym shoes in. This keeps the bacteria contained to the plastic bags and not breeding in your gym bag. When you get home let your gym shoes air dry before slipping them on the next day.
  • Wash your workout clothes every time you wear them. It is not recommended to attempt to get two wears out of any piece of clothing after working out in them.
  • Rest at home if you are sick. Coming in sick will only set your healing time back and spread germs to others.

What healthy gym habit do you think is the most important?