Free Weights At The Gym Have 362 Times More Bacteria Than A Toilet Seat, Study Shows

By Diane Palmer, Parent Herald April 08, 10:47 am

A new study warns gym goers that the equipment most people use expose them to extremely harmful bacteria. The sheer volume of bacteria found in gym equipment can cause infections and other diseases.

The study, conducted by FitRated, gathered samples of bacteria from 27 different pieces of gym equipment from three different gyms. Each piece of gym equipment was found to contain more than a million germs per square inch.

About 70 percent of bacteria found by the researchers are potentially harmful to humans. The bacteria found may cause diseases such as pneumonia or septicemia.

Most gym equipment was also found to be positive for cocci which is a bacteria that causes skin infections and bacillus which causes ear, eye and respiratory infections. In some cases, these bacteria may also resist antibiotics.

Free weights were found to contain 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat while a treadmill was found to have 74 times more bacteria compared to a public bathroom faucet. The average exercise bike, on the other hand, had 39 times more bacteria than a school cafeteria lunch tray, the Daily Mail cited.

A similar study from the clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reported that 63 percent of gym machines had traces of rhinovirus, which is the main cause of the common cold. Another study from the University of California-Irvine showed that staphylococcus bacteria could survive on gym equipment benches and hard surfaces, according to NY Daily News.

Equipment inside the gym is used by a community of people, according to Chelsea Freeburn, part of the creative team of FitRated. Nearly every piece of equipment is never wiped down before or after use, which is where bacteria growth may occur. Sweat experienced by gym users may also contribute to the build-up of bacteria.

An ideal solution, according to experts from FitRated, is to disinfect gym machines and equipment before and after use. Gym goers should also practice good hygiene by washing hands with anti-bacterial soap before and after every workout.

Aside from not touching the face, it is never a good idea to go around the gym barefoot. Gym clothes should also immediately be changed after every workout and a shower is best recommended.

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