The gym is such a great place to workout. It gets you up off the couch and out of your house where it seems more distractions exist than a World Cup soccer match with Vuvuzelas buzzing everywhere. You get to workout amongst your peers, talk to personal trainers, meet new people and find the motivation to keep going. You don’t have a lot of excuses once you step foot inside the gym. It’s truly “go time”.

3d GermsBut what comes with a lot of people working out? GERMS. The sweaty, bacteria-laced hands of your fellow exercisers are touching everything. Weights are shared. Equipment is not always wiped down. Mouths touch water fountain spouts. Noses are wiped before grabbing the elliptical handles. It’s a germ-filled place.

Luckily most gym rats, and people in general, have built up a good immune system. Mom letting you play in the dirt when you were young was actually sort of a good thing! Gyms, like Fitness19, have excellent sanitation measures in place, but it’s impossible to police every germ. Even if you aren’t a germaphobe, or you have a superior immune system, it’s important to wash your hands after lifting. Germs aren’t the only culprit for the necessity of hand washing after lifting. Certain viruses, fungi, and bacteria can lie in wait in the locker room.

Scared yet? Don’t be. Nobody’s trying to deter you from working out at the gym, because it truly is the best place to get in great shape, but you can take some simple precautions to avoid the nasty side-effects of germs and their ugly cousins.

Wipe down the equipment before and after you use it. Grab some spray and disinfect the machine or weights your are going to handle, and you’ll be safe. If you don’t see spray, ask or suggest to make some available.

Don’t touch your face. If you’ve got an itch, that’s one thing, but try not to lift weights and then rub your eyes or get that last little bit of lunch out of your teeth. You’re asking for trouble.

Washing hands in the bathroom

Carry hand sanitizer. You don’t have to squirt sanitizer every minute that you’re at the gym, but having it handy will make it easy if you need some quick germ-killing power.

Wash your hands after lifting. Here it is! The easiest tip comes last. But hopefully now you have a better understanding of the importance of washing your hands after lifting. Nobody likes to be sick or catch the flu, strep throat, E. coli, or athlete’s foot.

Unfortunately, the above problems come from other humans. Other humans frequent the gym, but you can be safe and well protected with smart, simple steps.