There's nothing like a great gym workout to beat stress, burn calories and get into shape. But you could pick up some gym-lurking germs while you're spinning, lifting and crunching.
Take these preventive measures to avoid gym germs:
Wipe it down.
If your gym provides antibacterial spray or wipes, use 'em! Many machines, weights and other shared equipment can be laden with germs that can cause anything from MRSA to E. coli infections to the flu. If your gym doesn't provide spray or wipes, carry around a to-go package of antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer and use before and after each use.
Don't touch that cap.
Bringing a water bottle with you to the gym is imperative so you can stay hydrated. However, when you touch the equipment and then your water bottle cap, you can transfer a ton of germs to your mouth. Instead, opt for a water bottle that has a push top; leave it up and squirt the water into your mouth without touching it. If you're worried about spills, use a wide-mouthed bottle with a screw cap and sanitize your hands between each use.
Protect your feet.
Locker room and steam room floors are breeding grounds for germs and fungi, so always wear flip-flops, shower shoes, slides or socks when walking around so you don't pick up anything. Even a small cut in your foot can become infected by a gym floor, so keeping your feet covered is key.
Bring your own towel.
The "clean" towels at the gym may be transported by the same means as the dirty ones. Bring a towel from home to cover mats and exercise balls while you use them. Mark the side that's being laid on the equipment so you know it's the "dirty" side.
Practice safe showers.
Gym showers are a communal house of germs, so always wear shower shoes or sandals in the shower. Thoroughly dry your feet when you're done to avoid prolonged moisture. Avoid shaving at the gym because nicks and cuts can provide a passageway for germs.
Sanitize your smartphone.
Grabbing your phone, iPod or other device to change the tunes or switch machines transfers germs from your hands to the device. Use a sanitizing wipe on the screen and the case to rid your device of icky microbes.