Article from Fitness Magazine: (read full article here)
Bugs that cause colds and flu, athlete's foot, and skin infections are everywhere. Here's how to protect yourself.
The Dirtiest Spots at the Gym
You hit the gym regularly to be healthy and fit. Yet you may be getting more than flat abs and strong arms there. Gyms are hotbeds of germ activity, researchers say. Norovirus, which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, can survive for a month on the surface of exercise machines. The fungi responsible for foot infections multiply at a blinding pace in the shower. And microbes like MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to dangerous skin infections, lurk in the locker room. To help you stay safe, FITNESS asked top experts to ID the biggest danger zones in the gym and to share the best germ-beating strategies.
Hot Spot: Towel
Germ Meter = High
You grab a "clean" towel from the pile at the gym. What you can't see is that the fibers may be teeming with E. coli or MRSA. "Most gyms use the same hamper to transport dirty towels and clean ones," Tierno says.
Bring your own towel, marked with an X on one side with a permanent marker, Tierno advises; only that side should make contact with gym machines. Use the unmarked side to wipe sweat off yourself. Bring a separate towel if you're showering at the gym. Try an antimicrobial one, available at sporting goods stores, to reduce your risk for infection.