How Dirty Is The Equipment At The Gym?

If you've ever wondered how dirty the equipment at the gym is, look no further. While it's safe to assume that there's no way that a public gym could ever be 100% clean and sterile all the time, gym equipment is actually much dirtier than you might think (via Real Simple). According to a 2017 study from Fit Rated, public gym equipment is loaded with germs and bacteria. Fit Rated tested 27 pieces of gym equipment from three gyms and found that each piece of equipment contained an average of one million colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch.

Comparing various equipment and machines to everyday household items, the study found that, an "exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a reusable cafeteria tray. Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and a treadmill has 74 more times more bacteria than a water faucet." Of the different types of bacteria present on the machines and equipment, bacillus, gram-positive cocci, gram-negative rods, and gram-positive rods were among the most common.

How to avoid infection at the gym

While coming into contact with potentially harmful bacteria doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get sick, it still poses a risk to your overall health and well-being. Fortunately, you can help reduce this risk by taking certain safety precautions (via Self). For instance, one of the most important things you can do is wipe down your equipment before and after using it.

Although public gyms are supposed to sterilize their machines and equipment every day, they often rely on individual gymgoers to do it for them. Since there's no telling how many people have used a piece of equipment without cleaning it, however, it's best to sanitize it yourself with a wipe or disinfectant spray. This will help get rid of most of the germs and bacteria living on the machine or piece of equipment. 

You should also avoid touching your face while you're working out. Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth could potentially transfer harmful bacteria from your hands to your face, where it can enter your body and cause an infection. That's why it's also important to remember to wash your hands after you've finished your workout.