Quick Facts on Germs at the Gym and How To Protect Yourself

Humans have trillions of microbes on and in their bodies and shed them constantly. Luckily, most of these microbes don’t make us sick, says Andy Brader, microbiology instructor at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.

Problems arise when bacteria get into areas where they shouldn’t be. For example, strep and staph live on our skin. If they get under the skin, through a cut, they can cause infection, which can become serious.

Also, there are issues with fungal pathogens like athlete’s foot and ringworm, which love damp environments.

And germs from our gastrointestinal tract can cause problems like diarrhea when they’re exposed to a new area of the body.

Germs come from us, so any place with a lot of traffic, including gyms, will have a lot of microbes, Brader says. Busy, wet spaces like a locker room, shower or sauna, are a breeding ground for germs. That includes gym equipment and mats.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a germaphobe. Brader shared these tips to protect yourself during and after a workout:

  1. Try to avoid sharing items that don’t need to be shared, like mats.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Wipe down equipment before and after use. When using a cleaner, the more time a cleaner is on the surface, the better.
  4. Shower as soon as you can after using the gym. Use shower footwear if using the shower in the gym.
  5. Don’t keep dirty clothes in your gym bag. Air out equipment that you used that day.

In terms of yoga – yoga mats in a busy studio or gym can be breeding grounds for germs. “Sliding a yoga mat into a bag would transfer bacteria and fungus to the bag” states Andy Brader, microbiologist. And many people do not clean their mats as thoroughly as they should. Therefore, every time you put the yoga mat in the bag, you expose it to the same germs.
Note: Lancaster Newspapers Online article, Staff Writer Erin Negley, September 9, 2018 http://bit.ly/ThePureBag

Follow these tips and check out ThePureBag® Yoga Bags that provide a level of protection against microorganisms and germs at the gym. Don’t let germs stop you from exercising! See our selection of yoga bags and yoga accessories on our website and invest in your health!

5 Ways you can Make your Yoga Studio Germ-free

5 Ways you can Make your Yoga Studio Germ-free

Being an instructor or owner of a yoga studio is wonderful – you get to hold classes for people who are as passionate about yoga and living a healthy lifestyle as you. However, part of living a healthy lifestyle is protecting yourself from germs and bacteria, and the heat and sweat in every yoga class can put that healthy lifestyle in jeopardy. By enforcing these five policies in your yoga studio, you will be able to minimize the spread of germs:

  1. Take off your shoes. While yoga is most commonly performed without shoes on, take it a step further and don’t allow shoes onto the wood surface where the class is held. Shoes can drag in dirt, fecal matter, and other germs that will latch onto a person’s skin and make him or her sick.
  2. Bring your own mat. We’ve talked about this one before. Once germs and bacteria make their way into a mat, they can survive there for weeks to months. Combine that with the sweaty yoga studio environment, and yoga mats could be hazardous to your health. Make sure you ask students to always bring their own mats and store them in a durable yoga bag.
  3. Zero sickness policy. Many people try to soldier on when they are sick, which is commendable. But when it comes to a group setting like yoga class, it’s best to stay at home. Make sure you spread the word that your studio has a zero sickness policy to prevent the spread of germs to other students.
  4. Sanitize hands. Even if you do your best to make your studio a germ-free zone, there will still be a chance for catching germs. Put hand sanitizer near the entrance and exit of the classroom as well as in the bathrooms. Also, ensure there’s always antibacterial soap in all the bathrooms to eliminate the risk of getting sick. 
  5. Add cleaning to class time. Rather than saying namaste and packing up to go home, add cleaning to the end of your class. Ask people to wipe down their mats and the area they occupied during the class. Carving out that time will make more people take the necessary precautions for fighting back against germs.

By being more cognizant about germs, you can make your yoga studio a safe haven to keep your students healthy. For added protection, buy yourself a germ-resistant, durable yoga bag from our shop! We’ve always got germ protection on the brain, so we created our line of products with you in mind. Check them out here.

Germ Protection from the Dirtiest Things you Touch Every Day

The Dirtiest Things you Touch Every Day

We often talk about the dirtiest items you come in contact with at your gym or yoga studio, but what about outside those environments? While it’s not a pleasant thing to think about, germs and bacteria are on most items we touch every day, and we aren’t just talking the common cold. Everyday, you touch staph, e coli, and other microorganisms, and when you touch your face, they get into your body and make you sick. These five items are some of the biggest common culprits:

  • Smartphones and tablets – these days, our cell phones are an extension of our hands, going with us everywhere… including the bathroom. People who scroll on their smartphones and tablets while going to loo are collecting all those germs and bacteria that are festering in the bathroom. In fact, a recent study found that phones have 10 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Every time you touch your phone or tablet, the germs they carry, including strep, staph, and e coli, make their way onto your hands. Then, when you touch your face, they make their way into your body.
  • Purses and backpacks – purses and backpacks, like cell phones, go pretty much everywhere with us. The only difference is cell phones aren’t usually set on the floor while you’re sitting down. Purses and backpacks are placed on so many surfaces that it should be no surprise many studies throughout the years have concluded they carry more bacteria than the handle flusher on a toilet. The bathroom, your kitchen, the sidewalk – purses and backpacks are placed on so many disgusting services and they collect all the bacteria they come in contact with along the way. This bacteria then globs onto the items in your purse, waiting to be ingested or breathed in.
  • Money – paper money is made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen, making it the perfect place for germs to set up camp. Combine that information with the fact that most money stays in circulation for five to 15 years, and it’s scary to think about how dirty it is! Last year, a study concluded there are hundreds of species of microorganisms on cash, including vaginal bacteria, pet dander, e coli, salmonella, and staph. Unless you wash your hands before and after handling money every single time, these viruses will get to your hands and eventually your mouth.  
  • Car keys – while car keys themselves are usually metal, which is a material germs don’t usually stick to, what about the plastic piece at the top of key or the little crevices? Every time you handle your keys, any dirt, sweat, or germs on your hands are transferred to your keys and vice versa. And those cute keychains you pick up from vacation? Depending on the material and build, those may harbor even more kinds of microorganisms that can threaten your health.
  • Shoes – same concept as the purses and backpacks, but shoes come in contact with the ground all day every day. Think of all the places you walk throughout a single day. Now, think about where you place your shoes when you need to carry them. Backpack? Purse? Gym bag? Placing your shoes into your personal bags is only contributing to the disgusting germs and bacteria they already carry, which puts your wellness into greater jeopardy.

With all that being said, what should you do to protect yourself from these germs and bacteria on the items you touch every day? In each of these five cases, our ZipPockets will give you the protection you need to stay healthy all year long. They are 5×9” – the perfect size for your phone, credit cards, money, and keys. Even better, they fit into your purse or backpack to protect your most important items from the germs living in and on your bag’s surface. Our ZipPockets come in a variety of fashionable colors and offer unmatched germ protection every day.

The Best Yoga Mat Materials for Germ Protection

The Best Yoga Mat Materials for Germ Protection

Whether you’re just getting started or have been practicing yoga for years, you probably know there are many different yoga mat options. They come in different colors, patterns, textures, materials, lengths, thicknesses, and much more. But when it comes to germs, what yoga mats offer the best protection? We broke down five of the most common mats to shed some light on the level of yoga mat protection each one offers.

  • PVC – standing for polyvinyl chloride, PVC mats are the most commonly used mats by yoga newcomers. However, they get a lot of flack from yogis because they are the least environmentally friendly of the yoga mat options. They are open-celled, meaning they have excellent grip but hold onto and incubate germs longer than other mats.
  • Rubber – this is a very common alternative to PVC mats. They are sticky and comfortable, which makes them pricey but great options for longer yoga classes. Because they are made of latex, people with latex allergies should stay away. When it comes to germs, they don’t absorb too much sweat and bacteria but should still be cleaned.
  • Thermoplastic elastomer – a blend of rubber and plastic, these mats are stiff but flexible and very durable. They are environmentally friendly and can be recycled and reused, which is an added bonus. They are closed-cell, meaning there are less pores, so they are antimicrobial and easy to clean.
  • Cotton – these yoga mats are known for their comfort, non-slip grip, and lightweight qualities. While cotton mats are arguably the softest and most comfortable option, they are also very absorbent of all the sweat and moisture they come in contact with. That means they are most likely to carry germs and bacteria and hold onto them for longer periods of time.
  • Jute – these yoga mats are sustainable and resilient, making them not only eco-friendly but also long-lasting. Some people find these mats too rough, and they put down a towel before their sessions. Because jute is a fibrous material, it absorbs less moisture compared to other yoga mats. However, that’s not a bad thing because it means jute is a good choice when it comes to yoga mat protection from germs.

Regardless of what type of mat you choose, a mat wrap is a wise choice when it comes to germ protection. Then, no matter how porous and susceptible to germs your yoga mat is, you’ll know you’re protected.  Want to get yourself a yoga mat wrap before your next class? We have a Silver Lining Mat Wrap made of hypo-microbial materials that offers yoga mat protection before and after every use. Get yours here.

The Three Best Ways to Practice Yoga Mat Protection

The Three Best Ways to Practice Yoga Mat Protection

Whether you know it or not, yoga mats are one of the grossest and germiest things you can touch at a gym or yoga studio. They are porous, which allows unwanted germs to get comfortable and hang out in your mat for several days. But we don’t want you to run the other way at the thought of busting out your mat and going to yoga class. Instead, we want you to arm you with three of the best tips for keeping your yoga mat germ-free and keeping you healthy:

Bring your own

The number one thing you should do to protect yourself from yoga studio germs is always bring your own yoga mat and never share it with another person. One-third of the population unknowingly carries MRSA bacteria on their skin and in their nose, and the heat, moisture, and sweat at the yoga studio makes it a dangerous place for those germs to jump onto your mat.

If for some reason you absolutely need to borrow a mat, always clean it before and after each use. Otherwise, you don’t know what type of germs have been living on the mat or how long they’ve been there. If you own a studio, charge a fee for mat rentals to encourage people to bring their own. Then, use that money toward your cleaning costs to help keep all your students healthy.

Cleaning

As we’ve mentioned, cleaning is the ultimate yoga mat protection. Even if you use your own mat, you can’t be sure that the studio floors are clean, and your mat has the potential to pick up germs and fungus from other people’s feet and sweat.  There are many different ways to clean the mats, including specific yoga mat cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, and DIY cleaners. Some people rely on soap and water, but some use vinegar and water. Just like gyms, there are also wipes you can bring with you or set up in your yoga studio. However, most people recommend good old-fashioned Lysol or disinfectant spray. Spray both sides of the mat down and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then, wipe it down and store it in a clean environment. This is a practice you need to use before and after you use your yoga mat every time.

Mat Wrap and Yoga Bags

Some people can’t keep up with cleaning their mats, which leaves them vulnerable to germs, fungus and bacteria. If that sounds like you, anti-microbial mat wraps and yoga bags should be your best friends when it comes to yoga mat protection. Unlike any other yoga products on the market, the mat wraps and yoga bags we offer are built with germ protection in mind. The yoga bags are made with healthcare-quality vinyl that is embedded with silver and sewn with antibacterial thread. The mat wraps are made of hypo-microbial fabric treated  on both sides with silver to repel germs. For the ultimate yoga mat protection, roll your mat up in a mat wrap and then put it in one of yoga bags. Germs won’t have a chance, and you’ll stay healthy all year long.

These three tips are the best ways to protect yourself against all the germs that may be hiding around your gym or yoga studio. If you want to read more about our cause and why we are so passionate about protecting gym goers and yogis from germs, check out this page.