Did you know that Importance of cleaning gym equipment, even though it may appear clean, is actually teeming with germs and harmful bacteria? Studies have shown that a typical piece of equipment has more than 1 million germs per square inch. A typical treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a public bathroom faucet. Even more horrifying, an average set of free weights has 362 times more germs than a toilet seat.
Working out definitely has many benefits for your health. Whether you’re running on the treadmill, using weights or exercising on your upright or recumbent bike, an intense workout can make you feel invincible and full of energy. However, once you’ve finished the workout, it can be easy to simply forget about cleaning the equipment in favor of a relaxing shower. It’s common courtesy to clean your equipment after each use in public gyms, but is it necessary in your own personal home gym?
Because bacteria are everywhere, staying clean in general is necessary to prevent diseases and stay healthy. Historically, poor sanitation was linked with deathly diseases such as cholera and acute respiratory infections. Today, many food borne diseases could be prevented if everyone washed their hands thoroughly every day. Though the amount of bacteria in a personal gym may be lower because you are not sharing the equipment with anyone, it is still necessary to clean your personal home gym.
Gym equipment can harbor thousands of germs, even if it is strictly personal. The aim of working out and exercising regularly is to feel better and boost your immune system, but by not cleaning your equipment you are actually compromising your health. Warm and moist environments, such as gyms, are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. This can potentially aid in the transmission of many kinds of infections, some of which can even lead to serious issues, such as MRSAs.
Furthermore, soft, squishy, porous equipment, such as yoga mats and machine padding, can be an even better environment for bacteria to thrive in. The germs that linger on gym equipment can cause a variety of issues, such as urinary tract infections, athlete’s foot, warts, common colds, flus, and ringworms. Cleaning your equipment is the only way to avoid bacteria build up and enjoy your gym time without worrying about health concerns.
Gym equipment, such as bikes, elliptical machines or treadmills, often comes equipped with a heart monitor which can help you track not only your heart rate but also your overall level of activity. This is possible thanks to pulse sensors, usually located on support bars or moving arm bars.
However, sweat, dirt, and oils from your body can interfere with the machine’s heart monitor, skewing the sensor’s responses and therefore giving inaccurate readings – or perhaps no reading at all. Generally, heart rate monitors give an extremely accurate approximation of your heart rate; periodically cleaning and sanitizing your machine can help you get accurate readings as well as increasing the longevity of your heart monitor.
If you have a home gym, you’ve probably spent a lot of money on equipment and know how costly it can be to replace. It is important to take good care of your equipment to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. If properly maintained, your equipment should last between seven and twelve years.
However, dust and sweat can be very damaging and cause erosion on the machine; sweat can cause the metal components of the machine to rust over time, whereas dust does not allow for proper lubrication and can cause parts to fail over time. These issues can cause machines to break down earlier than expected.
Even though it may be personal equipment, sweat can build up and cause your equipment to have an unpleasant smell. Cleaning your equipment regularly can help avoid bad smells and keep your equipment in top condition.
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To prevent these issues, it is necessarily to clean your machines regularly and thoroughly.
Here are some tips to ensure that your machines stay clean:
Around once a week, you should conduct a deeper wash; use ammonia mixtures instead of bleach and hydrogen peroxide, as these can cause irritation and rashes if they come into contact with skin. Furthermore, bleach can ruin clothes and is also dangerous when inhaled. Also avoid WD-40 and drying chemicals, as they can cause the machine to degrade.
For a more natural solution, you can create your own air freshener, yoga mat spray and general cleaner. By mixing tea tree oil with vinegar, baking soda and distilled water, you can create a simple spray which has disinfecting properties and also helps prevent the fungus growth.
Another good homemade remedy is a mixture of vinegar, dish soap and water. This is a simple and cost effective solution which is safe for you and your gym equipment. To make your sanitizing spray, mix together one part of dish soap and two parts of vinegar. Any type of dish soap works, but you may want to use a scented one for a pleasantly refreshing smell after cleaning. This way, your spray is deodorizing as well as sanitizing, and can be a great way to clean yoga mats. A mixture of vinegar and water can also be effective.
Baking soda can also be used as an antifungal agent but it does not disinfect or kill germs, so be sure to use another cleaning solution as well.
In any case, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning equipment. This refers to both the gym equipment and the sanitizer you’re using. If you find yourself in difficulty or would like a more professional opinion, don’t hesitate to contact a professional specialized in gym equipment. A professional can help you prolong the life of your equipment while preventing germs and improving the accuracy of your heart monitors.