How the gym can be bad for your health

How clean are the free weights you use at the gym? Photo / Getty
How clean are the free weights you use at the gym? Photo / Getty

Does your gym visit involve getting your hands on weights, kettle bells or a treadmill?

One of the reasons we hit the gym is to make use of the equipment, but a new study warns gym goers may be exposed to a huge amount of bacteria as they sweat it out on various machines.

Research conducted by FitRated, a company that reviews fitness equipment, has discovered gym facilities are a "hotspot for germs".

Gathering bacteria samples from 27 different pieces of gym equipment, FitRated found each item was teeming with more than 1 million germs per square inch.

Chelsea Freeburn is part of FitRated's creative team and told Daily Mail Online that because gym equipment is generally shared by a large number of people, if not cleaned well, it can harbour a lot of bacteria.

READ MORE: • Is this the end of gyms?

"Think of it as having long handshakes with multiple very sweaty people," she said.

How gym gear compares to other items used in public spaces:

• A treadmill can have 74 times more bacteria than a faucet in a public bathroom.
• A set of free weights has an average of 362 times more bacteria germs than a toilet seat.
• An exercise bike can harbour 39 times more germs than a lunch tray from a school cafeteria.

The equipment was found to have a bacteria known as gram-positive cocci, which can be the source of skin infections and other illnesses.

They also found Bacillus - which can cause ear, eye and respiratory infections - on exercise bikes and weights.

FitRated recommend for those concerned about the amount of germs they could be coming into contact with during gym visits, to never walk around barefoot at the gym, always wash your hands after a workout and change out of your gym gear sooner rather than later.

- nzherald.co.nz

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