Why You Should Always Wash Your Hands After A Workout

You've probably heard this before, but it's worth repeating: always wash your hands after a workout! You may think that since you're just going to the gym and not visiting a hospital, you don't need to worry about germs, but that's not the case. Gyms are full of bacteria, and if you don't clean your hands properly, you could end up getting sick. Many people who go to the gym touch multiple surfaces while they work out. This includes free weights, machines, door handles, and more. Most people don't wash or sanitize their hands every touching every surface, so there are many ways to spread germs around.

According to WebMD, washing your hands after going to the gym is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from getting sick. Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is the best way to remove germs. If you can't wash your hands, hand sanitizer is the next best option. Make sure to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Don't forget to also disinfect any equipment that you used during your workout. Wiping down yoga mats, free weights, and elliptical machines not only helps keep the germs at bay for the next person who uses it, but it also helps prevent the spread of illness within the gym itself. So be considerate and take a few seconds to clean up after yourself. It could make all the difference for someone else's workout.

Other ways to stay healthy at the gym

Working out in a public setting exposes you to a lot of germs. While you don't need to stay home all the time, there are many things you can do to ensure that working out is making you healthier, not sicker. In addition to washing your hands regularly, you should shower as soon as possible after working out (via WebMD). This will make sure bacteria doesn't breed on your sticky, sweaty skin. Avoid sharing water bottles, towels, or other personal items with others (via Cleveland Clinic). You never know when someone might be sick, and it's better to err on the side of caution.

You should also avoid high-traffic areas of the gym, like the locker rooms, if possible. These areas are breeding grounds for germs, and you're more likely to come in contact with them. Gym-goers often don't think about the fact that they're sharing a space with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. Wearing a face mask while you work out can also be a helpful way to avoid breathing in germs while you exercise.

The bottom line is that taking a few extra precautions can go a long way in keeping you healthy. The next time you head to the gym, remember to wash your hands, disinfect equipment, and shower as soon as possible afterward. Your body will thank you for it!