Oooh, icky

If you’re doing Yoga, be sure to bring the disinfectant:

In the last two years, Dr. Cohen said, he has seen a 50 percent spike in patients with athlete’s foot and plantar warts. The likely culprit? Unclean exercise mats, he said.

Gyms have long been hothouses for unwanted viruses, fungi and bacteria, a result of shared equipment, excessive sweat and moisture in locker rooms. Many facilities provide disinfectant so clients can wipe down machinery, but they are often less diligent when it comes to exercise mats. It’s common to see staff members clean a stationary bike. It’s rare to see them disinfect a mat.

This is starting to worry many yoga practitioners who go barefoot on high-traffic mats. Half a dozen kinds of yoga-mat wipes are now sold nationwide, and new products like hand and foot mitts, to protect serial mat borrowers, have hit the market.

Once again, solid evidence to back my gym avoidance complex.

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  • mamapajamas

    You know, it always puzzled me that some of the same people who would be very conscientious about wearing shower shoes in the locker room and on the exercise room floor would take them off on the exercise mat. That made absolutely no sense to me. I couldn’t pinpoint precisely why it bothered me– I’m more of a “big picture” person than a detail person and knew something was out of whack but not precisely what– but this article shines the light on it.

    As a cancer survivor making my way back to health from a long serious illness, I belong to a gym mostly for the equipment (which I personally can’t afford), but I’m always sure I have something on my feet, whether gym shoes or shower shoes (and then make sure the shower stall water doesn’t “fill” enough to overflow the shower shoes). So far I haven’t had any problems with my feet, but then after surviving chemo I’m almost neurotic about avoiding infections or fungi. I think you have to be neurotic about it to avoid it in public gyms.

  • Ymarsakar

    I prefer calisthenics exercises at home. The only exercise I can’t do at home is the pull up because I don’t have a bar anywhere.

    When my shoulder heals up from that muscle injury, I’ll have to to do a lot of work to rebuild what I lost.

    I picked up most of the exercises I currently do right here at this site.

    I was being dumb and doing a backbridge using the hands as support rather than the neck and head. The injury must have happened a few months ago when I just started doing it without pre-stretch, and was only using my right hand/shoulder as supporting. I was doing dumb things lik rotating my cuff around and it must have snapped something, though I didn’t feel it at the time. Solid evidence that if your body produces endorphines in such high levels that most pain becomes pleasure, do not push your body beyond limits without warming up.

  • edenz

    I bring my own mat. That’s why they have mat carriers, no?