How you can fight against germs as you hit the gym for the new year
Exercise can be a great way to stay fit and improve your overall health.
"The better your underlying health is, the less susceptible you're going to be to infection," Dr. Laura Kornegay, the Health Director for the Shenandoah Health District, said.
But with so many more people hitting the gym for the new year, and it being flu season, there are more germs that can be spread.
"Some of the things we worry about this time of year are respiratory illnesses, and they're spread by respiratory droplets, so people coughing or sneezing," Dr. Kornegay said.
Germs tend to hide out mostly on the bars people touch and in the locker room.
The trainers at F45 in Staunton know how easily germs can be spread in a gym. That's why they do what they can to prevent germs from spreading as much as possible.
"All year-round, we sanitize between every single class. We do not want germs being taken home to loved ones," Sonya Parlier, head trainer and co-owner of F45, said.
After each workout, trainers also encourage everyone to sanitize their hands before they head out. Dr. Kornegay said your best defense against germs and illness is soap and water.
"if you immediately wash your hands after exercising before touching your face, that should prevent a lot of transmission of infection," Dr. Kornegay said.
In addition to sanitizing after each workout, the trainers at F45 also clean the gym each night.
"We have special germicide that we disinfect everything as well as between workout but nightly. It's FDA approved to kill flu, HIV, any kind of bug you can think of pretty much 99.9 percent of the germs," Parlier said.
The germs should not keep you from the gym, though, because working out can also help you fight the flu.
"So when we exercise, we release endorphins, which makes us happy, and the combination of exercise and happiness inspires your body to produce antibodies, which are proteins that help fight germs and fight illness as well," Parlier said.
Dr. Kornegay said flu season will probably be sticking around for another month or two, and it's not too late to get your recommended vaccines.