6. Water fountains
The safety of the water aside (pipes may be old or poorly maintained), water fountains in gyms may act as transition points for viruses and infections. People may spit in the fountains leaving globs of infectious mucus in the bowl. The rim and the handle are the parts that are touched by hands and thus are most likely to be contaminated.
7. Shower floors
Flip flops are not an ideal match for any feet and some podiatrists have reservations about recommending them. But even flip flops are better than walking barefoot in gyms. The reason is fungus. The fungi that cause common infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm thrive in warm and moist environments like the floors of gym lockers and showers.
8. Handles at workout stations
It’s natural to grab onto handles of exercise machines at the gym — but you may want to think twice before doing it now. Gym goers regularly wipe their sweat (or noses) with their hands and then put them on the handles. It’s pretty much an unconscious activity. Wearing fingerless gym gloves lowers the risk of contamination, but you’re not completely safe because your fingertips are still exposed.
9. Door handles
Whether you’re going to run on the treadmill or lift weights, everyone who goes to the gym starts out by opening the door, spreading their germs and bacteria to everyone else who touches the handle after them. One University of Arizona study found that viruses on common-use surfaces like door handles can be caught by up to 60% of people who visit the same facility.
10. Gym bags
People commonly leave their workout clothes and gym shoes in their gym bags until it’s time to use them again. This is a big mistake that may cost you a few days of fungal infections. Your shirt, shorts, tights, socks, and sneakers are probably wet from sweating for the last hour or so. Not only will they smell the next day, but they may have grown fungi and other bacteria that love moist and dark places.