Germs are everywhere! Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely avoid germs, but there are ways you can prevent the spread.
The best way you can protect yourself and your family is to be smart about what you do. Consider everything you touch a potential place you could spread a germ. While this might sound scary, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself from viruses and stay healthy.
Keep up your fitness journey with these five ways to prevent spreading germs!
1. Disinfect common areas.
There are lots of benefits that come with a Y membership, including access to personal trainers, group classes, a wide array of machines, childcare options, and the motivation that comes from working out with others. However, in a large community setting, you also need to practice good hygiene.
Let’s be honest; we’ve all witnessed someone using a piece of YMCA equipment and walking away without wiping it down afterward or coughing/sneezing without covering their mouths. If we’re really honest, we might even own up to having done it ourselves a time or two. To prevent spreading germs, be sure that you not only wipe down all pieces of Y equipment after you use them, but also before for good measure.
Germs spread through direct contact. So, to keep yourself and others healthy, take care to sanitize any highly used objects before and after using them—including weight, mats, countertops, cell phones, and machines.
2. Wash your hands frequently.
One of the easiest and most important ways to say healthy is by washing your hands frequently. Ever since you were little, it’s probably been ingrained in your head to wash your hands to avoid spreading germs. Most of us have probably not been washing our hands as thoroughly as we think, however.
To be sure your hands are germ-free, scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. A great way to keep track of the time—and make it more fun— is to try singing a song as you scrub away! If hand sanitizer is more your style, double-check that it contains at least 60% alcohol. Otherwise, it’s simply not effective enough to remove all the germs from your hands.
Whenever you find yourself in a place with a lot of foot traffic, wash your hands frequently to kill any germs you come into contact with. The Y is no exception! Washing your hands both before and after your workout is one way that you can protect yourself and others.
3. Practice social distancing and stay at home.
While most of us can face our fair share of germs and illnesses, other members of our community don’t have the ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. One important way to help the whole family remain healthy is to stay at home (not at the Y!) if anyone is feeling even slightly sick. If you’re able, work from home, order your groceries for pickup, and avoid any unnecessary travel.
To keep yourself and others as safe as possible, it’s best to stay six feet—or at minimum three feet—away from other people. Not only will this distance and less exposure help you recover; it’ll also protect others from getting sick as well. Because some viruses don’t have vaccinations currently available, it’s important to monitor your family’s health for both their own good and the good of others.
Staying home doesn’t have to derail your fitness journey! Keep your family active by starting an impromptu dance party or taking on the challenge of an online fitness program. Just because you’re spending more time at home, instead of at the gym, doesn’t mean you have to put your fitness on hold.
4. Keep hydrated.
As you may already know, germs can easily spread through the air and last for several hours on surfaces. So, standing anywhere from three to six feet from someone who is infected automatically puts you at risk of breathing in germs. If you often go to the YMCA to work out, then this can be even more of a concern for you. However, according to recent research, drinking large amounts of water may be one of the most effective ways to stay healthy and ward off airborne germs.
According to Dr. Lewis, who performed a study over the relationship between water intake and virus prevention, hydration is essential in preventing the germs from attacking your system. Water is a vital element for all bodily functions in fighting off viruses, but most importantly in keeping the lining of the nose moist.
“The first line of defense (against germs) is the mucous membrane in the nose,” says Lewis. “This acts like a sticky flypaper to trap things like dust, dirt, and bacteria and prevent them from getting to the lungs. If you are dehydrated, the mucous membrane will dry out. When this happens, it is half as effective (in its defense).”
Drinking at least eight cups of water a day will help you avoid getting sick, let your body recover after workouts, and keep your body running efficiently.
5. Fuel your body properly.
Food is fuel for your body, which is why eating a diet rich in vitamins is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Fueling your body properly before and after workouts with foods and vitamins that boost your immune system will help your body fend off the virus.
A good rule of thumb for eating a vitamin-rich diet is to make sure your meals are colorful. The various fruits and vegetables that are available this time of year do wonders in boosting vitamin levels and helping your body fight against viruses. The more reds, greens, purples, and oranges you can squeeze onto your dinner plate, the better!
Vitamins C and D are amazing in helping your body fight off germs. You can ingest these vitamins through foods such as fish, eggs, broccoli, and kale, or from weekly supplements. They’re even found in many pre- and post-workout foods that charge your body throughout your workout and help you recover quickly. Boosting up on vitamin-rich foods is great for fueling exercise and is one of the ways that you can ward off any viruses.
With germs spreading everywhere, it’s easy to let the fear of getting the virus keep you from the YMCA. However, with these five easy tips, you can protect yourself from sickness and stay healthy so you won’t miss a beat in your workout routine!
Ready to learn how the Y can help you stay healthy?
The Lafayette Family YMCA is a community dedicated to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.