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:
- Try to avoid sharing items that don’t need to be shared, like mats.
- Wash your hands.
- Wipe down equipment before and after use. When using a cleaner, the more time a cleaner is on the surface, the better.
- Shower as soon as you can after using the gym. Use shower footwear if using the shower in the gym.
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone knows if you want to promote good health, going to the gym is a large component. However, hidden behind all the workout machines and shared fitness classes are hundreds of thousands of microscopic germs, bacteria, and fungi itching to find a host. Community settings paired with the sweat and moisture of the gym are the ideal location for germs to grow and survive. So what places are the grossest?
Weight and Cardio Machines
These are the most frequently handled items in the gym, so it shouldn’t be a surprise they carry the most germs. Lifting weights? You could be touching MRSA or norovirus. Working out on the exercise bike? You’re at risk for rhinovirus, staph, fungi, and yeast. You never know what the person before you was carrying or if they cleaned the equipment after use.
Protection – With all shared equipment, including cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, resistance bands, and yoga balls, wipe them down before and after each use. If your gym doesn’t have antibacterial wipes, bring hand sanitizer and paper towels and use them as wipes.
Most locker rooms, especially those with showers, are humid and damp, which is the perfect atmosphere for germs, bacteria, and fungi to thrive. The floor alone has sweat from the gym floor, fecal matter from the bathroom, fungi from the showers, and many other traces of gross micro-organisms. The benches have fecal matter and traces of vaginal yeast from people sitting on them naked. There are so many disgusting things that are just itching to jump onto your gym bag and clothing.
Protection – Wear shoes in the locker room at all times, including flip flops in the showers. If you’re changing shoes, sit on the bench and have both pairs of shoes ready so your feet never have to touch the ground. Also, avoid sitting on the bench naked. But if you have to for some reason, always lay down a towel first.
Pools are hugely notorious for being a germ hot spot. Think about the number of people who pee in the pool or don’t shower before they get in. In a dirty pool, you’re basically floating around with germs and bacteria floating around you, including the kinds that give you a stomach bug or ear or eye infections. Even around the pool is dirty. The edges of the pool that stay damp are one of the most common places to get athlete’s foot.
Protection – The best thing you can do is ask your gym how often they test the pool and ask to see the pH levels. If it’s indoors, you can also smell the pool area. If there’s an overpowering chlorine scent, it means the pool is dirtier. However, if you’re a pool rat, make sure you always wear a cap, goggles, and ear plugs while swimming, wear flip flops walking to and from the pool, and shower immediately after getting out.
Exercise & Yoga Mats
Even if you bring your own mat, there are still many opportunities for germs to make their way onto and into your mat. Bacteria can live on mats for days to a week while fungi can survive for weeks to months. All the sweat and heat that often accompany working out drips onto mats or gets left behind for your mat to sop up. Any skin contact with a germ-infested mat can cause skin infections, athlete’s foot, colds and flu, and hepatitis A.
Protection – Always, always, always bring your own mat and don’t share it. Keep your mat clean by wiping it down with disinfectant before and after each use. If you already have your own mat, you can not only protect it from germs but also reduce mildew smells with a mat wrap. ThePureBag™ makes a mat wrap that you can easily roll onto your mat for total germ protection.
If you think your gym bag is just lugging home all your equipment, you’re very wrong. All the germs and bacteria on your clothes, water bottles, shoes, and other gear hitch a ride with you and make your home their own. Even though a majority of the germs will be your own, every time your bag comes in contact with a shared area, other people’s staph, salmonella, E. coli, and pseudomonas will climb aboard your bag.
Protection – Avoid placing your gym bag on the floor or benches in the locker room, because that’s where a majority of bacteria latch on. When purchasing a bag, select something made of vinyl or plastic, such as ThePureBag™, because germs don’t stick on the material the same way they do with cloth. Then, every so often, wipe down the inside and outside surfaces of the bags to give them a little extra protection.
Now, don’t let the thought of germs stop you from going to the gym. By following our protection tips, you can protect your health and promote a healthy lifestyle! For an unmatched level of protection against microorganisms at the gym, check out the selection of yoga bags, yoga mat wraps, zip pockets, and cinch bags on our website and invest in your health.
Hi, I’m Lori!
I’m an entrepreneur, networker, and a bit of a creative. I love creating and connecting things to help people improve their quality of life and find solutions to life’s bumps and stumbles. That passion drove me to where I am today: the founder and CLO (chief lifestyle officer) at ThePureBag™.
Investing in, supporting, and helping people ranks high on my priority list. I spent my career in pharmaceuticals as a sales and marketing executive working with physicians to provide life-changing meds and remedies for patients. I’ve worked via company organizations to advance both men and women in the workplace, and I’ve been active with my university alumni, serving on various committees to help my fellow graduates.
But sometimes, the universe conspires to help direct us to a different path. One and half years ago, a sudden debilitating illness rendered me non-functional for several months. My physicians and I believe I was exposed to germs from my gym/yoga bag, which left me unable to feed myself and unable to work. Finally, a five-day immunoglobulin infusion helped my system knock out the infection, and I began to regain my normal routine.
This harrowing experience inspired me to create and design a stylish and functional yoga bag line that repels bacteria and other microorganisms. I came to realize how important it is to protect yourself from germ exposure during and after exercise, and I believe my experience happened for a reason: to help others learn from my story and stay healthy while working out. My next step became clear – I left my chief commercial officer job and embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.
Being the founder of a startup company is a very different experience. It provides an empowerment and freedom that allows you to bring your vision to life. On the other hand, this freedom comes with a ton of responsibility. It’s a huge commitment from both a time and financial standpoint. You really have to be passionate about what you’re doing, with an innate and relentless desire. You should always be asking yourself, “How can I make this happen?” Always looking forward and always keeping your eye on the vision.
I jumped in feet first and have begun bootstrapping my company. It is an extremely liberated yet risky state – highly independent with full freedom of expression AND everything riding on my shoulders. It has been quite a transition and lifestyle change from collecting a comfortable salary and benefits to funding both my company and my day-to-day living expenses. I’ve made the necessary adjustments – eschewing business suits and cocktail meetings for yoga attire and green tea. My office is no longer conference size with a view of the city, and my days are no longer spent in meetings that run long on time yet fall short on outcomes. I work simply in a cozy office in my home wearing multiple hats from CEO to package handler. I surround myself with many talented individuals who care about my business and help guide me in making the right decisions on my intellectual property strategies, mapping out approaches for my marketing campaigns and even filing orders. Every day – sometimes 24/7 – while maintaining time for reflection and for personal health.
Yoga bags live in a whole different space from pharmaceuticals. Learning this new industry is exhilarating. I network voraciously and absorb as much information as I can to nurture and grow my business. When I first envisioned my company, the driving factors were creating something that brings value for others, would be energizing and fun, and would solve problems I am passionate about – in my case, health. I wanted freedom to work at my own productivity pace and schedule, freedom to say yes and no to new things, and freedom to experiment and test out new ideas and explore untapped concepts. My focus with my new company is to provide valuable, quality products with integrity. I am all in and committed to providing solutions for everyday life that are built on the convergence of health and wellness, sports, and style within the fitness market. Supporting the local community is an integral part of my concept. All our products are designed and crafted in Pennsylvania, and all materials are sourced in the U.S.
I’m lucky I can pursue my dream and share my idea and products with others. As the saying goes, “It takes a village,” and this is so true with my support network and hero role models. Witnessing people take the next step on their journey and going independent inspires me all over again. If you are giving everything to your startup, it should be in a space and format that energizes you, fulfills your soul, and allows you to follow your authentic path. Don’t forget to throw in some yoga classes, too. 🙂
Even if you love doing yoga and going to the gym, it can be gross to think about all the bacteria and illness flying around in such a sweaty, community setting. While colds, coughing, and sneezing usually come to mind, there are also other infections, such as MRSA and athlete’s foot, that are hanging around waiting for you to catch them. That’s why ThePureBag™ exists! Our yoga gear is not only mold- and mildew-resistant, it also leverages healthcare-quality vinyl and embedded silver for antibacterial protection. We don’t mean to toot our own horn, but there is no other yoga bag on the market that can offer you that level of protection.
What our Germ-resistant and Durable Yoga Bags Protect Against
Even if you go to the yoga studio or gym and keep to yourself, you’re still in a community setting. That shared space can carry all kinds of bacteria and germs, especially if you’re sharing equipment, towels, shower areas, or clothes. While you’re breaking a sweat, the previous person may have left behind some gross microorganisms that thrive in moist areas for several days and can cause infections, including:
- MRSA – this is a staph infection that does not respond to most antibiotics and causes a rash, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain. It is passed from skin-to-skin contact or sharing towels, clothings (should be clothing), mats or equipment that have come in contact with sweat and haven’t been properly cleaned. Gyms and locker rooms are the two most dangerous areas for contracting MRSA.
- Athlete’s Foot – closely related to ringworm, athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes a scaly red rash as well as itching, burning, and stinging between the toes on the foot. Walking around the gym, yoga studio,locker rooms, and showers barefoot are the most common ways people get athlete’s foot. However, you can also get it if you share towels or clothes with an infected person.
- Strep Throat and the Common Cold – usually you can tell when someone is sick, but it can be harder to determine when it’s the start of something more serious. Strep is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat and is often accompanied by a fever and fatigue. Community settings, such as the gym or yoga studio, can be very dangerous if someone unknowingly has strep.
- Plantars Warts – caused by HPV, plantars warts are hard, small warts on the bottom of your feet. While not everyone who comes in contact with this strain of HPV will develop warts, there is still a chance you will develop a plantars wart if you walk around barefoot at the locker room or by a pool area.
Why this Protection Matters
With the exception of plantars warts, all the conditions listed above are highly contagious. That’s a big reason why gyms, yoga studios, and locker rooms are hotbeds for infection. Even if you are very diligent and take all the necessary steps to protect yourself, you cannot guarantee the people around you have done the same. Our yoga bags are the only bags that use antibacterial and antifungal materials throughout to ensure no germs make it back home with you. Learn about what makes our bags different here, or you can check out our selection of germ-resistant and durable yoga bags, mat wraps, cinch bags, and zippockets. Our products protect your health AND look great. What’s not to love?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly referred to as MRSA, causes a staph infection that is particularly tricky because of its immunity to most antibiotics. Even though the prevalence of MRSA in hospitals is dropping in the United States, we are seeing more and more people contracting it in community settings, such as on sports teams and at gyms. It affects roughly 80,000 people each year and can lead to other serious illnesses if left untreated.
How is MRSA spread?
Many people believe MRSA is only spread through open wounds and cuts, but that simply isn’t true. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimates that one-third of the population carries MRSA bacteria on their skin and in their nose. Because the bacteria can be present without causing an infection or showing any symptoms, people unknowingly pass it via skin-to-skin contact. That’s why hospitals, gyms, and other places where you are in close physical contact with other people are the most common places for contracting MRSA.
Why are gyms and yoga studios a hotbed for MRSA?
Like any other bacteria, MRSA thrives in hot, moist areas, including in sweat from your pores. Couple that with sharing equipment, and gyms and yoga studios place people at the highest risk for picking up the infection. All the treadmills, ellipticals, weights, and other hard materials you use when you work out may carry the MRSA bacteria as a result of improper cleaning, and that bacteria can live on these surfaces for up to a week. More porous materials, such as yoga mats and exercise mats, are even more dangerous because the bacteria can absorb into the material and live there for several days. Bringing the equipment back into your home post-work can subject your entire household to MRSA if they are not cleaned right away.
How serious is MRSA?
The severity varies on a case-by-case basis, but it is something you should take care of immediately if you see symptoms. It is incredibly contagious – another reason why community settings are so dangerous for contracting MRSA – and can cause a rash, head or muscle aches, chills, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Even worse, it can cause more severe complications including pneumonia and sepsis.
How can I protect myself against MRSA?
The most important thing you can do is always practice good hygiene, especially when you are sharing equipment. Avoid close contact with people who are sweaty, have open wounds or cuts, or have a rash. You should also avoid sharing towels, razors, clothes, or other personal items that have sweat residue or have been in close contact with skin. When you’re finished working out, shower and change out of your clothes as soon as possible and don’t rewear your clothes until they have been washed. For all the yogis out there, you can take even more precaution by using a germ-resistant yoga bag from ThePureBag™. Each bag provides powerful protection against MRSA and other bacteria, leaving your yoga mat germ-free before each use. See for yourself in our shop – we carry germ-resistant yoga bags, zippockets, mat wraps, and cinch bags to keep your gear bacteria-free.