wash your hands after the gym

Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

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After the Gym:
Step 1: Don't touch this until you've done this.

Gym equipment can have sweat, dirt, oils and germs on it, and touching your face before you've thoroughly washed your hands can transfer those substances. The grime can clog your pores, and while the germs won't necessarily damage your skin, they could make you sick—63 percent of gym equipment tested positive for viruses (particularly the rhinovirus) in a study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Airan had a patient who contracted the MRSA bacteria (which causes staph) at the gym after touching an open cyst on her lip during her workout. While most gyms aren't likely teeming with MRSA—a 2011 study tested for it at three gyms and found no trace, suggesting it isn't as widespread as once thought—Airan wears weightlifting gloves during her workouts to minimize calluses and keep germs off her hands.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.