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We'd hate to discourage you guys from keeping up with your health and fitness routine this winter, but, we've got to say, after getting a glimpse of just how many germs are at the gym, we're pretty hesitant to head back until after flu season is well over. This isn't too suggest that you can't catch illnesses from the gym outside of flu season, but, hey! We'll take our chances. Nowadays, we're just not looking not to add insult to injury, you know? It's bad enough we have to deal with pesky coworkers coughing and sneezing, we don't need gym goers to contend with as well.
Question is, just how many germs could be lurking on equipment used in popular classes? EllipticalReviews.com decided to take that question into their own (gloved) hands — swabbing equipment from four of the most popular group fitness classes: barre, CrossFit, spin, and hot yoga. Most of which can be done at home, by the way!
EllipticalReviews.com measured the bacterial content of swabs for each class in colony-forming units (CFU), a measure of the volume of microbes in a given sample. Then they gathered three separate swabs from each class and averaged CFU totals to determine a single representative number. Finally, they compared the average for each class against a pretty repulsive reference point: the number of CFU on the average toilet seat.
The results were nothing if not entirely gross. Their bacterial tests were able to reveal the total number of microbes that appear on various workout tools, and which classes attract the most harmful germ varieties. Yikes. Get ready to be put off working out for life, guys.
The Most Contagious Classes
The results show how barbells used in CrossFit classes were inhabited by 48 times more bacteria than the number of bacteria living on a toilet seat. Turns out, Yogis also have some reasons to worry, especially if they're into hot yoga. When researchers swabbed mats used in hot yoga classes, the CFU count clocked in at over 25,000 — eight times the toilet seat total.
Which Microbes Appear Most?
Not only did the study measure the amount of bacteria, they measured what kind — an equally, if not more, alarming factor. For instance, 52 percent of bacteria registering as gram-positive cocci, which are associated with skin infections and diseases like pneumonia. Our advice? Any workout class you can get away with bringing your own equipment, especially a mat, do it! You won't regret it and neither will your immune system.
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