When does a good trip to the gym go bad? When you pick up a cold or some other icky infection from your fellow exercisers! Studies show that germs and bacteria lie in wait in surprising places. So, here’s how to stay fit and healthy at the gym, courtesy of the London Daily Mail:

  • Let’s start with the towels. In most gyms, you’re not even allowed in without your own towel. And signs everywhere encourage you to wipe off the weight machines and treadmill handles when you’re done. Well, here’s a big “but” - towels can be a haven for the bugs that cause staph infections. So, bring TWO towels. One for the weight machine, and another for your face. And when you get home, wash them both in very hot water and bleach.  
  • Another gym germ tip: No more flip-flops in the shower! Sure, they keep your feet clean while you walk around, but then what? Foot specialist Lorraine Jones says throwing damp shoes in your gym bag is the perfect way to grow the bacteria behind athlete’s foot and toenail infections. And the next time you slip on your shower shoes, your feet will be slimed! So, wash your flip-flops well and dry them completely before storing them in your gym bag.
  • Finally, consider those exercise mats! Lots of gyms and yoga studios provide mats for everyone. But guess what – most of them have about 100-thousand bacteria per square centimeter. Critters that can cause upset stomachs, skin infections, and more! So, consider bringing your own mat. Then, wipe it down every time you use it. Make sure it’s dry before you roll it up and put it away. And wash it once a month with gentle detergent and let it air dry completely.