Don’t Let Your Workout Make You Sick

Workouts making you sick?

Working out is one of the best ways for you to stay healthy, right? The benefits of a daily workout range from stronger muscles to weight loss to increased endurance. But your workout also has the potential to make you sick, especially if you work out daily at the gym. Despite your best efforts to improve your health through exercise, you also may be exposing yourself to allergens, bacteria, and germs during your workout. Here’s what to look for so you get all the benefits from your workout without getting sick.

No matter which gym you call home, you need to be aware of where harmful germs and bacteria are hiding. The locker room is the first location to use caution, especially if you shower at your gym. Bringing a pair of flip flops or shower shoes is a good way to protect your feet from such nasty problems as warts and athletes foot. Also, while it may seem like a good idea to use the antibacterial soap provided in the gym’s bathroom or locker room, you may be exposing yourself to triclosan, and ingredient in this type of soap that has been shown to lead to problems such as allergies and thyroid problems. Bring your own safe soap or ask your gym to use Green Seal Certified soap.

Proper breathing technique is very important for most workouts, whether you are lifting weights, running, or taking an exercise class. But do you know what you are breathing in? In many gyms, you are breathing in the leftover fumes from toxic cleaners used on the equipment to disinfect it, or air fresheners used to mask gym smells but that cause the indoor air to be harder to breathe.

Some gyms have areas for specific types of workouts, such as a yoga room or a pool for swimming. Both are great for your body, but also areas that can harbor potential problems. During yoga, you spend most of your time on or near your yoga mat. This can lead to potential issues such as a flare up of allergies, or exposure to germs if the mats are used by other people. Bring your own hemp or organic cotton if the latex or PVC in the mat you are using is making you sick. Also, check with your gym to be sure multiple use mats are thoroughly cleaned, or bring your own spray or cleaning wipes. If you prefer to work out in the pool, pay attention to the amount of chlorine in the water. If your eyes sting or you are having trouble breathing, ask if the gym can use less chlorine or provide better ventilation. Also, take a shower after you are done swimming to get rid of chlorine on your skin.

Other things to consider while you are working out at your gym include checking the ingredients for potential food allergy triggers in the snacks or drinks at the snack bar, changing your clothes after your workout to make sure you are not walking around in damp clothing that could irritate your skin, and bringing your own safe items such as a water bottle, cleaning wipes, towels or soap with you. Paying attention to all of the potential hidden areas in your gym that could make you sick will ensure that you can take all the proper steps to protect yourself and reap the benefits of your workout every day.

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