We love going to the gym, doing fitness classes and playing sports like squash and netball. We even notch up a run from time to time. Getting active is great for your health, superb for boosting your mood and it can also be brilliantly sociable. Who doesn’t like a chat over the water cooler or in the changing rooms? But watch out. We humans aren’t the only ones who like fitness centers, gyms and sports halls – a whole raft of viruses, bacteria and fungi love them too.
All you want to be taking home from your workout is a feeling of achievement and that heady rush of endorphins – not a nasty dose of athlete’s foot, jock itch or ringworm. But don’t panic, and don’t let it put you off getting fit – all you need to do is follow a few basic guidelines, and use a little aroma-help too.
- Use the spray! Those bottles of spray and wipes aren’t just there to make the machines look nice and shiny! Before and after using machines at the gym, disinfect the places that come in contact with your body – so we’re talking the handlebars on bikes and cross-trainers, the seat on bikes. If your gym doesn’t have sprays (or you simply prefer something natural), make your own with our DIY recipe – see below.
- Cover cuts and scratches. While open air is great for helping to heal wounds, you should always cover up skin abrasions in the gym – and especially if you’re playing team sports.
- Slip on slides. Communal showers and locker room floors are the most common culprits for picking up athlete’s foot. Wear slides or flip-flops and avoid walking barefoot.
- Keep yourself to yourself. Never share towels or gym clothing (this one is generally aimed at teenagers who have a bad habit of forgetting kit and needing to borrow). Put a small towel on the bench before sitting down. It’s fine to use communal supplies of body wash, shampoo and conditioner (but avoid communal bars of soap).
- Wash your hands. Just as you’d disinfect your hands before and after leaving a hospital, give your hands a good clean as you leave the gym. Lots of soap (liquid please!) and make sure you wash the backs of your hands and in between all your fingers – not just a swift splash over your palms.
Locker Room Super Spritzer
Use this to spritz gym equipment, shared lockers and give a crafty spritz around the changing room too. It smells lovely so nobody will mind.
- 1 oz (30 ml) Water
- 8 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
- 5 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- 5 drops Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- Just shake and spray away!
You can make it in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle or PET plastic.
Last tip? Anoint yourself with our Travel Companion – on temples, neck, wrists – another layer of defense. Now go have a great workout!