Here in the Berkshires, it can be difficult to maintain our regular exercise during the winter months. Just this morning it was -6* Fahrenheit! But our active routines have such big benefits when it comes to keeping up with healthy habits and reducing stress, that we tend to move indoors for our workouts when the temperature dips below the bottom of the thermometer.
But now, instead of breathing crisp, clean mountain air, running through tree-lined streets, and cycling through quintessential small-town New England, we find ourselves face-planted on our yoga mats wondering whose sweat we’re sniffing as we ready our superhero pose. Luckily, we always keep our Zogics wipes handy. No germs for us! But what about everyone else?
During cold and flu season, gyms can become breeding grounds for germs. And they don’t tend to discriminate. You’ll find them on aerobic exercise machines, exercise mats, and almost every hard-contact surface (including those weights you’re lifting!).
So, we want to workout. We can’t do it outside (we would become Zogics popsicles!) We move indoors and workout at our local gym. But now there are germs everywhere. How do we avoid getting sick?
- Wash those hands - Definitely use soap and water.
- Manners, manners, manners - If you have to cough or sneeze, do it in the crux of your elbow or into your shoulder. Sneeze on your bare hands and you’ll make all your new gym friends sick! And remember, if you are sick, be considerate and stay home. The gym will be there for you when you feel better.
- Disinfectants are your friends - Always, always, always wipe down equipment before you use it AND after you use it.
- Always have your towel - Not only is it the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have but you can also place it underneath you when you’re lying down on gym equipment or workout benches to keep a layer between you and the germs.
- Be prepared - When you can, bring your own mat. When you can’t, wipe it down before and after. That way you only smell your own sweat during downward facing dog.
Whew! I'm feeling better already about working out at the gym while the frigid temperatures persist. I'm just going to hit the locker room and then head home. Wait! Are there any germs in the locker room that I should be worried about?
Good thing I have this handy Locker Room Essentials Guide to look at for more information.