The music system is belting out your favourite song and you’re running to it on the treadmill. You do this about four days a week, where your trainer has fixed an exercise routine for you, alternating between cardio and weight training. So far so good; going to the gym is the route to good health, right?
Wrong. Ironically, you’re not really exercising your way to good health. Sunil Kumar, Fitness expert, Maximus Gym says, “even a simple workout, can expose you to a variety of health problems, from the basic to the serious”.
Places such as these, which not only provide the perfect temperature for the germs to grow and multiply, but also involve sharing of its equipment and body gear, turn out to be the breeding ground for many infections; various deadly bacteria and germs are found all over the gym, be it on the machines, the sauna, or the swimming pool.
Meenakshi Talwar, a 27 years old HR manager, developed a strange rash on her feet and between her toes, as a result of excessive gymming. This is an indicator of the dermatological problems going to the gym may pose. In her case, using one of the towels of her gym proved to be the problem. The towels weren’t washed properly and hence contained the infection. Fungal infections and rashes are common in gyms.
Therefore, using the towels or clothes provide by your gym is a bad idea as they can lead to different types of skin infections, as the hygiene standards are often suspect in such places. But just because your gym is lax about hygiene doesn’t mean you have to be the same.
“As a gym instructor myself I would advise you to carry your own clothes, towels, shampoos and soaps. The rule here is simple, do not share,” warns Kumar.
It is also common advice to not walk barefoot in a gym, especially near damp areas such as swimming pools, always walk around in slippers, and that too your own.
Do dry yourself well after a bath, apply powder, especially where there is friction of the body parts, and wear clothing suited to exercise, adds Kumar. If you do notice any symptoms on your skin, do consult a dermatologist.
This does not mean you stop trusting trainers or gyms altogether.
One of the perils of being a customer of any product means that there is the possibility of getting cheated.
Yashmeen Manak, fitness expert, Sculpt Gym, advices, “Before starting any exercise and after checking the credentials of your trainer, sit down and make a plan for your body with your trainer. If you visit the gym frequently, the next time you go analyse the place properly, and then speak to the manager in case of any problems such as issues of medical aid or first aid. Don’t hesitate, don’t be shy”.
Throw away any cavalier attitudes you may have possessed about exercising your body. Maintaining your body is an art and simply enrolling yourself in any gym is not the way to go about it. You have to invest time and effort not just in your exercise routine but also in formulating that routine. Never underestimate the importance of good health.