Gyms are generally considered to be the ‘it’ place for those who want to get fit and healthy. They are, however, the last place where you’d expect to find a serious threat to your health. Alas, this ‘mecca’ for good health has turned into a breeding ground for a number of infections that you can catch while at the friendly neighborhood gym. Read on to learn more.
According to microbiologists who conducted surveys across a number of gyms, dangerous forms of bacteria can be found lurking on the gym equipment. These were probably left behind by the last person who used it; and you are going to only add more onto it while you leave. So, it works as a vicious cycle. Hot tubs, sports drinking bottles and changing rooms have some colorful stories of their own to tell.
Men’s fitness magazine did a survey recently that showed how high levels of bacteria are thriving in these warm environments. Dr. Derren Reddy, who is a clinical scientist with the University College Hospital in London said that he was taken aback when he tested a swabs taken from one of the most popular gyms in London. He claims that in one particular case, there were as many as 132 million bugs in an area as small as a coin. The average bug count came up to around 16 million.
He puts things into perspective by comparing these numbers to that of bacteria found in samples taken from a toilet seat. On an average around 500 bacteria would be found in such a sample; and that is one of the primary reasons behind why so many questions are being raised about sterilization and basic hygiene levels in gyms.
Want to know more about where the hot-spots for bacteria in your gym are -
According to the survey done by the Men’s Fitness Magazine, germs were found, hiding, in every nook and cranny of the gym. The bench-press headrest was one of the biggest hot-spots. 8 millions of staphylococcus epidermis, which is bacteria that is responsible for skin infections, were found merrily partying and multiplying on the hot-spot headrest and other surfaces like dumbbells.
Candida, which is a germ that is linked to intestinal problems, was also found on the surface of weights and exercise bikes. Herpes could be another major concern, since the sweat of an infected individual has all the potential of passing the worm around.
According to experts, it is not actual sweat which causes any problems; but in fact it is the moisture from the sweat that causes most of the issues by making for a conducive climate for the germs to grow in.
CHANGING ROOMS AND SHOWERS
There are high chances of people getting infected by what is known as community-acquired MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections, which could lead to boils or other sort of difficult-to-treat skin conditions.
Dirty towels are generally the breeding ground for these Community-acquired MRSA. Gyms, unfortunately, are not governed by the same standards by which hospitals are. Which is why, according to experts, it is best for people to carry their own towels so as to avoid such situations from arising in the future.
Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s foot) is another common problem that can arise. It is a fungal infection that is responsible for cracked and blistered skin.