Colds, flu… and fungal feet: How going to the gym could actually make you SICK
Survey found almost three quarters of gym-goers have have witnessed poor hygiene
Almost half admitted using towels or water bottles that didn't belong to themAnd more than a third admitted to
exercising without deodorant or socks
00:12 GMT, 11 December 2012
Almost half of the gym users admitted using something in the gym that didn't belong to them, including towels, water bottles or toiletries
Going to the gym may not be as beneficial as you think because some fitness fans' poor hygiene could leave you ill, according to a new survey.
Almost three quarters (74%) of people polled by Nuffield Health said they had witnessed 'bad fitness etiquette' in the gym including poor hygiene like failing to clean sweaty equipment.
Almost half of those polled admitted using something in the gym that didn't belong to them, including towels, water bottles or toiletries.
Nuffield warned the behaviour could leave people open to catching colds and flu from other gym users, as well as fungal infections like athletes foot.
Sarah Marsh, the firm's professional head of fitness and wellbeing, said: 'Yes, it's unpleasant when the person before you hasn't wiped their sweat off the machine they've been using, but the health implications of this and the other hygiene issues our study revealed can be more wide ranging than this.
'We encounter disease-causing germs every day, although generally few of us become ill.
'We know these germs may easily be spread by unwashed hands – through direct contact with someone or indirectly through touching contaminated object.
'So, as the temperature dips outside, there are many more bugs around and our immune systems are challenged by the 'flu seasons' arrival – not wiping down gym equipment can help germs spread.
Poor hygenie at the gym could leave people open to catching colds and flu from other gym users, as well as fungal infections like athletes foot
'These germs can cause not only vomiting and diarrhoea but also respiratory infections.'
The survey of 2,000 people also found
that 22 per cent of people were put off exercise by poor hygiene or excessive
nudity in changing rooms.
Eighteen per cent of exercisers admitted going to the gym when suffering from colds, coughing and sneezing.
And more than a third admitted to
exercising without deodorant or socks on, while 16 per cent admitted not washing
gym clothes between workouts.