5 infections that you can catch from a gym, tips to prevent such infections

by Shatakshi Gupta

Regular gym training has numerous positive effects on your health, including stress reduction, an increase in metabolism, the maintenance of a healthy weight, and the development of your immune system to fend off frequent infections. And yet, the gym—the source of your good health and fitness—could also be a breeding ground for diseases! Are you aware of those bacterial, fungal, and viral infections that you can catch at the gym?

Numerous people use the same equipment at your neighbourhood gym every day, which creates an environment conducive to the development of severe skin infections.

Consider your assumptions about the only cause for concern to be exercise-related injuries. However, infections shouldn’t prevent you from continuing your path to get fitter because a few measures and healthy habits should be sufficient to protect you from such setbacks. After all, the advantages of fitness much outweigh any negative effects.

There are methods to ensure proper personal cleanliness and ward off these diseases, regardless of where you are in your fitness journey—whether you’re just starting, an experienced fitness lover, or just periodically visit the gym or your neighbourhood yoga studio. In this article, we will discuss potential infections that one can catch from the gym.

A gym goer is at risk of catching the following infections

In the gym, you can never be too far from another person, their sweaty towels, or the bench they just gave up for you. It also implies that various bacterial, fungal, or viral infections are present in your gym’s environment.

Fitness routines might be disrupted and some of the health benefits of exercise may be lost due to irritating gym infections that can keep you from working out for a few days or weeks. The following are some of the most typical illnesses that gym users may contract:


Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can appear anywhere on the body as a circular, scaly patch on the skin’s surface. Ringworm also appears as a rash and is accompanied by itching or burning feelings.

Ringworm thrives in the damp or moist conditions found in fitness centres, gyms, and gym showers. In a gym, damp clothing or perspirant skin might exacerbate the situation.

However, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to become infected. Topical ointments and over-the-counter medications make treating it simple.

Jock itch

Another type of ringworm is jock itch, which develops in the groyne area or beneath the bra line in women. Jockey itch initially appears as a skin rash with a round and scaly appearance and is typically brought on by too much sweat in the folds of the skin.

These infections are easily spread in the sweaty surroundings of a gym or fitness centre. Additionally, those who have previously had jock itch are more likely to do so again. Simply through touch, the illness can easily go from one area of the body to another.

Athlete’s foot

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A further ringworm offshoot known as athlete’s foot is very frequent among athletes, thus the name. However, casual fitness enthusiasts and amateur athletes may also contract this fungus infection.

A raised, ring-like rash is the main symptom. Athlete’s foot is more likely to develop when you walk barefoot. Walking barefoot is quite frequent in yoga studios, pilates studios, and around swimming pools, however it is less common in gyms.

The continuous use of the same socks, damp shoes, or the locker area you store your possessions in might all be contributing factors, according to doctors who attribute it to personal hygiene.


Although the previous illnesses on this list are mostly fungi, folliculitis can also be caused by bacteria. It commonly manifests itself in skin regions with terminal hair growth and affects the hair follicles; it can also be misinterpreted for an outbreak of acne.

Itching and white heads or red pimples loaded with pus are among the symptoms, which are typically brought on by sweat and heat. Folliculitis may be brought on by shaving against hair growth, using wet towels, or wearing clothing that traps perspiration or moisture.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts are typically found on the balls of the feet or on the heel and are brought on by a particular strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

It is often contracted by going barefoot in damp areas, such as adjacent to a pool or in the locker room of a fitness centre. Plantar wart outbreaks on the foot can become unpleasant and challenging to remove, despite not being life-threatening.

Plantar warts are easily contagious. Therefore, it is recommended to always wear shoes in these settings and to periodically wash your hands and feet.

How can you prevent these infections?

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If you contract any of these infections, your committed exercise program—whether it’s for weight reduction, muscle growth, or healing from chronic pain—can be derailed. You may greatly reduce your risk of contracting illnesses and diseases by practising good hygiene and keeping your fitness facility clean. Here are some things to remember:

  • Washing your hands after any activity is generally a good idea, and working out in the gym is no exception. Before and after working out, wash your hands, and always have hand sanitizer on hand.
  • Always dress in dry, moisture-wicking clothing. As you perspire, cotton tends to stick to your skin.
  • Before and after use, wipe down equipment with towels, wet wipes, or sprays.
  • In wet or humid environments like the showers at the gym or the poolside, wear some sort of footwear.
  • Shower as soon as you can with soap after working out.
  • If you have any cuts or bruises, treat them right away and cover them to prevent infection.