5 Tips To Avoid Catching a Cold or Flu From the Gym
'Tis the season for the cold, flu, and wretched stomach virus. If you're anything like me, you are dousing yourself in hand sanitizer every moment you get.One thing that drives me bonkers is seeing someone at the gym who is clearly sick. Or worse - a friend telling me they are “sweating out the sick”.
FRIENDS… I’m going to say this one time: "WHEN YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME." Period.
Please do not believe the myth that you can “sweat it out”.If you do believe this myth, please sweat it out at home and not in a public place.
For the rest of us, there’s no way to stop people from showing up when ill, however, we can be proactive in protecting ourselves from getting sick.
Below are my Top 5 Tips to avoid catching this seasons' ailments:
WASH YOUR HANDS
Most of us have learned at a young age to wash our hands. This is the easiest way to protect ourselves from catching the 'ick'. What if you can't wash your hands? Carry hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer is a great alternative, it's still most effective to wash your hands in lukewarm water with soap... while singing the ABCs! Why the ABCs? Because that song length is how long it's recommended to wash, ensuring you have killed the germs which reside on your hands.
2. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE
Germs are so tiny, how do you know if your hands are covered in them or not? The rule of thumb is to not touch your face. We have eyes, ears, mouth and a nose (*cue* head, shoulders, knees, and toes!) these openings are how viruses or bacteria enter into our body and disrupt our day-to-day. It's best to not touch our face to keep the little buggers out.
3. WIPE DOWN YOUR WORKOUT EQUIPMENT BEFORE AND AFTER USE INCLUDING YOUR WATER BOTTLE AND PHONE
Most public facing wellness and fitness studios require you to wipe down equipment after use. I like to be extra cautious and wipe down my equipment before use. I do this because I can't guarantee the person before me did as thorough of a job as I would like (aka, dunking it in bleach, and anti-bacterial spray). Just kidding (but, actually). I also take it a step further and wipe down my water bottle and phone. Why? My hands were just all over the equipment, and if I was thirsty or taking a video, I've now just transferred the 'ick' to my water bottle and phone.
4. SWITCH AREAS OF THE ROOM/GYM IF YOU HEAR OR SEE SIGNS OF SICKNESS
It's not you, it's me. While this statement is bogus in the dating world it's certainly true in the fitness world. Most group classes are in small rooms which is the best way to contract what your neighbor has. I recommend re-positioning yourself in the class or moving to different equipment. When someone coughs, little particles start floating into the air. When you're the furthest away, the likelihood of those germs landing on you are a lot less than when you are near them.
5. GET A FLU SHOT OR BUY YOURSELF A PLASTIC BUBBLE AND LIVE IN IT UNTIL MAY
Rumor on the street is, it's a lot cheaper to get a flu shot than to buy the infamous plastic bubble. There's no way for you to avoid getting sick, but getting the flu shot is definitely a proactive preventative measure. While each year's flu shot is filled with the flu strains predicted by ladies and gents in the lab coats, it doesn't guarantee that you won't contract the flu. It does, however, protect you from those specific strains and possibly lessen the symptoms of other strains.
I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful, and that you have a healthy and safe winter season! Can't wait to see you around Seattle, but I can tell you one thing... 'if' I get sick (knock on wood I don't) I'll be at home.