Safeguard your skin. Keep cuts and scraps clean and covered with a bandage until healed. Keep a barrier such as an item of clothing or a towel between your skin and equipment that others use, such as weight-training machines and sauna benches. Always wear flip-flops or shower shoes in wet areas.
Bring your own exercise mat. Gym mats, like those used for practicing yoga, may not get cleaned between classes, so it’s safest to tote one with you.
Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands before and after playing sports or using shared equipment. If soap and water are not available, the CDC advises using a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol. Use sprays or wipes to disinfect gym equipment both before and after you use it. Shower after exercising or using a hot tub or swimming pool.
Do your laundry. Stash sweaty clothes, swimsuits, and used towels in a plastic bag separate from the rest of your gear and wash them after every use. “Evidence shows that the numbers of skin bacteria build up each time we wear a piece of clothing without washing it,” Vasquez says. Heat kills bacteria, so she advises washing and drying items at the warmest temperature level listed on the clothing tag.
Be stingy with your stuff. Avoid sharing personal items that touch bare skin, such as razors and towels.
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