Monday 26 September 2016

Siobhan Byrne on... Importance of gym hygiene

It's the season of colds and flu. Our fitness expert has simple rules for avoiding the sniffles at the gym

Siobhan Byrne

Published 20/10/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne has simple rules to avoid getting sick unnecessarily.
Siobhan Byrne has simple rules to avoid getting sick unnecessarily.
Burpee
Burpee 2
Burpee 3
Sumo squat
Sumo squat 2
Reverse lunge
Reverse lunge 2

The cold weather has arrived and with it the cold and flu season. With that in mind, are there ways that you can keep healthy in the gym? The last thing you need, when working so hard on your shape is to find yourself out of action. Gyms and pools can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so stick to my simple rules to help guard against getting sick unnecessarily.

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* If you have a cold, stay at home: Some people feel that if they train they will feel better or it will help to clear their head. I'm not a lover of this idea. A weakened immune system can be negatively affected and what may give you momentary relief could leave you fighting that cold for longer. Stay at home, no one else needs your germs.

*  Use a sweat towel: Granted, not everyone is a Sweaty Betty but a sweat towel is a must in the gym. There is nothing worse then sitting on someone else sweat or dandruff on benches. Wiping your bench or equipment is just common courtesy.

* Flip flops for the showers and sauna: Swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room can all be a breeding ground for bacteria. Help to avoid nasties like fungal infections and verrucas by bringing a pair of flip flops with you. I love my Amphibia dry mat for when I'm getting changed, the clever little mat is lightweight and saves dropping your towel on the ground. See amphibia-sport.com/amphibia-dry-mat.asp.

* Don't touch: Statistics have shown that we can touch our face up 16 times in an hour, and barbells, dumbbells and machines can be rife with other people's germs. Try to avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth and spreading those germs.

* Wash your hands before and after the gym: It seems simple enough but washing your hands before and after you enter the gym will help prevent spreading germs and contracting viruses.

* Don't leave your gym gear in your bag: Even the smallest amount of sweat can leave your gym bag full of bacteria. Get used to emptying your entire gym bag after use and wash or wipe out with antibacterial wipes.

* No need to sit on someone else's sweat: Use a gym towel to sit in the sauna or on the locker benches.

* Don't leave the gym hot and sweaty: You may have heard your mother saying it a thousand times when you were younger but wrap up when you leave the gym to avoid getting a chill.

Burpee

1/ Start in a press-up position, then jump your knees into your chest while keeping your hands on the floor.

2/ From standing position, jump up with hands in the air, then return down and then jump feet back out to start position.

This is one of my favourite functional moves that can be added into any routine to get the heart rate up.

Sumo squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your arms straight and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Simply lower yourself towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees.

3/ Then push through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back straight and head up throughout the exercise.

Add a kettlebell into this exercise to advance it. The kettlebell should be held in between the legs with arms straight.

Reverse lunge

1/ Stand straight with your arms by your sides.

2/ Take a step backward, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward with your weight on your front leg.

3/ Push off your front foot to return to the start position.

Make it tougher by holding a dumbbell in each hand.

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