CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Now that cold-and-flu season is in full swing, you might have noticed increased attention given to germs in your gym. Workout centers are optimal breeding grounds for bacteria, fungus and viral organisms.
Because personal cleanliness plays such a large role in reducing the spread of infections, responsible fitness centers and health clubs will post signs offering etiquette rules and tips for healthy hygiene. Exceptional centers and clubs go a step further. For example, instead of tips, they establish policies with mandatory rules -- rules that are continually monitored by staff.
When public health officials begin discussing influenza and viral infections, you may start to think twice about going to the gym to work out. If so, consider this: The health benefits of regular physical activity far outweigh the risks, especially if you understand how to safeguard yourself and others.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that it isn't sweat but rather the lingering moisture from sweat that helps germs survive. Most germs have a relatively short lifespan, but when moisture is not wiped away and sanitized regularly, germs have more time to grow.
Here are some rules to follow so you can stay healthy while working out: