More than 1 in 4 say they’ve seen gymgoers leave bathroom without washing hands: survey

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Have you ever seen someone hop off an elliptical machine without wiping it down?

According to a recent survey, many gymgoers witness this offending behaviour — and they hate it.

One in five people said not wiping down equipment was the worst breach of gym etiquette, a report by Treadmill Reviews found. That being said, over 30 per cent of exercisers admitted to committing the offence.

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Other things that grinded gymgoers gears included not putting free weights back on racks, as well as walking around barefoot.

What’s more, 25 per cent of women surveyed and 30 per cent of men reported “often or always witnessing someone use the bathroom at the gym but forgo washing their hands.”

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These bad behaviours not only spread germs, said Rolin McQuade, a Toronto-based personal trainer at GoodLife, but they can disrupt other gymgoers’ workouts.

“If you’re the person who is potentially battling something, make sure you’re looking out for everybody else by not passing on what you’ve got,” he said.

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McQuade, who has worked at the gym for nearly five years, understands why people get annoyed when weights are left laying on the floor.

Dumbbells or weighted plates are easy to trip over — especially if you’re focusing on an exercise and not looking down.

How to practice good gym etiquette

It may come as a surprise but free weights are the pieces of equipment that should be wiped down the most often, McQuade said.

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“Those touch your hands — and people sneeze into the hands a lot.”

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Most gyms have bottles of disinfectant spray and paper towels in multiple locations, and clients should make use of those cleaning tools.

But instead of spraying disinfectant onto a paper towel, McQuade suggests spraying the product directly on equipment. After letting it sit for a few seconds, then use the towel to wipe it down.

“If you don’t know if [equipment] has been clean beforehand, it’s probably a good idea to give it a little rub down before using it,” he added.

When it comes to the change room, McQuade says shower shoes are key.

Not only do they help protect the transmission of warts, they also help the bathroom and shower area clean.

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How to handle bad etiquette

If you see a chronic offender who never wipes equipment or puts weights away, it’s best to let gym staff deal with them.

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McQuade says you should let staff know if you’re concerned that equipment isn’t being cleaned, or if you’ve witnessed some less-than-desirable behaviour.

It’s also important to lead by example. Model good gym etiquette by wiping down mats, exercise machines and free weights before and after using them, McQuade said.

“If everyone took ownership of their own things, it would go a very long way.”

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