Sports Coach Logo Sports Coach Training Principles Fitness Components



text Translator



site search facility





Gym-fit or Germed Up? 

Sally Perkins looks at the importance of hygiene when using gym equipment.

Whether a fitness enthusiast with home equipment or a gym owner, putting hygiene first is a necessary. Not only can unsanitary equipment put off potential users, but the lack of a rigorous cleaning regime may allow germs to accumulate and contaminate those who come into contact with them. Suppose precautions are not taken to prevent this. In that case, the unwary fitness enthusiast's urge to keep fit may lead to an illness and the need to put a training programme on hold during the recovery period.

A Germ Playground

Gym machinery and equipment can become a perfect habitat for germs. Packed with weights machines, cardio equipment, mats, and free weights, any one piece of equipment can come into contact with over thirty people a day in a medium-sized gym. If just one of those thirty people is careless with their hygiene regimes, that means twenty-nine other people come into contact with their sweat and germs a day. It is not just the machines; the water fountain tap, the shower room floor, the paper towel dispenser are all areas in which bacteria can breed and spread - it could put some off going for a workout forever! However, keep in perspective, some of these hazards are unavoidable in day-to-day life, for example, on public transport, so it is not a case of just avoiding the gym to stay healthy.

Clean Machines

A regular cleaning routine in the gym not only results in a decreased likelihood of becoming ill but also enhances the equipment's effectiveness. For instance, fitness machines with heart-rate sensors are susceptible and will be less accurate if the sensor pads are dirty, and machines will gradually become damaged if they are exposed to sweat and dust. Whilst most gyms provide sanitising spray to be used on machinery, and this should be taken advantage of, it would not hurt to carry a little bottle of hand sanitiser and ensure hands are washed both before and after a training session. The workout kit should be removed from gym bags and put on a warm wash cycle as soon as possible after a training session. Some also recommend using supplements to boost the immune system, to reduce the chances of becoming ill.

Common Sense

Finally, when embarking on a training regime, no matter how determined the participant, they should follow common-sense rules regarding their health. If they have an illness, they would be advised to take a day or two out of their training programme. The dangers of going to the gym when unwell are not only that others may be infected, but an unhealthy person may injure themselves through lack of focus due to their illness, potentially resulting in having to drop their training routine, at least for a short while.

Although gyms can be a breeding place for germs, this should not be a reason to avoid them. When choosing a gym, potential members should look out for whether they promote good hygiene practices; do they have sanitising spray, are members encouraged to wipe down machines, is the area clean? Members should supplement these considerations by ensuring their hygiene practices are stringent, particularly after a gym session. These precautions should minimise the chances of coming into contact with germs and enjoying pursuing fitness goals uninterrupted by illness.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • PERKINS, S. (2017) Gym-fit or Germed Up? [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with years' experience across many different areas. She made moved to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and travelling as much as possible.