How dirty is your public gym? Study shows there can be harmful bacteria

Posted at 7:49 AM, Jun 12, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Many of us go to the gym to burn calories but if you’re not careful, you may come home with more than what you bargained for.

There’s a study out that said public gyms have all types of bacteria that can make you sick. Every time you grab a free weight at the gym, you could be putting yourself at risk for an infection or illness.

Here’s why: a study said free weights can have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

The site, FitRated swabbed samples on about 30 pieces of equipment at 3 gyms. It shows the types of bacteria tested on exercise bikes, treadmills and free weights.

It turns out, more than 70 percent of the bacteria they found are potentially harmful to you. Some can cause skin, ear or eye infections.

An expert at Lee health went over some ways you can protect yourself if you work out at a public gym. “Clean the equipment before you use it when it doubt, wash your hands all at the right times, don’t go to the gym if you are sick and cover your wounds,”said Alexis Price, a senior infection preventionist. “Those general practices should keep you free from infection while at the gym.”

Considering the large amount of people who touch fitness equipment in a public gym every day, the surfaces are less than spotless.

The study discovered that each piece of gym equipment has more than 1 million germs per square inch.

It showed that the average treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a public water faucet.

Experts suggest disinfecting machines, never walk around barefoot and change out of your gym clothes immediately after a workout. Also, don’t touch your face and always wash your hands.

Price said good hygiene is the number one way to prevent infection.