TicketSearch is focused on providing businesses, organisations, and venues with affordable, efficient, and powerful self-managed ticketing solutions. The organisation has offices in Australia, New…read more
Fitness clubs face ongoing hygiene battle
As one of the sweatiest places a person willingly spends time in, gyms and fitness clubs have to battle to maintain hygiene standards.
A 2013 study by University of California Irvine found that even after being sanitised twice a day, germs in gyms can survive on hard surfaces for 72 hours.
According to the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, research has found that gym equipment regularly carries germs like E. coli, Candida and Staphylococcus and skin diseases like human papillomavirus. For places created for people to get healthier, all those germs and diseases don't sound very healthy.
Unclean gyms can also put off current and potential customers.
A survey by Cintas Corporation, reported on by Australasian Leisure Management last year, found that the top cleaning issues that deterred people from using gyms included lack of cleaning products to wipe down equipment, dusty surfaces, dirty changing rooms and unpleasant smells.
Germ-infested items and areas in fitness clubs include:
• Cardio equipment
• Showers and locker rooms
• Weight changing levers
• Sports/activity equipment
• Exercise/stretching mats
• Free weights
• Water fountains
• Entertainment devices
• To improve hygiene and reduce germ levels gyms need to:
Establish a cleaning schedule
To keep germ levels as low as possible, regular and repetitive cleaning is required. Paul Conway and Sarah Bolitho’s The Complete Guide to Fitness Facility Management, published in 2014, recommends that staff wipe down equipment with disinfectant spray at regular intervals during the day, and add in extra cleaning times after peak times of use.
Mats should be wiped down throughout the day, and left to dry in a ventilated room separate from the gym area, and mirrors should also be cleaned daily.
Once a week, facilities need a complete antibacterial clean, including door handles, reception desk areas, stair banisters and rails and other high-use fixtures.
IDEA also recommended that changing rooms are regularly power-washed, since warm temperatures and moisture from showers creates a breeding ground for bacteria. As for sweaty towels, use hot water and bleach to clean them and dry them on the highest temperature setting.
However, it's not enough to just wipe down the front of a machine and call it a day. Cutting corners when cleaning equipment means germs can continue to grow. The Complete Guide provided recommended cleaning methods for each main type of gym equipment:
Resistance machines: Wipe all upholstery and any sweat marks on the frame, then dust all areas.
Free weights: Wipe handles with antibacterial cleaner.
Cardiovascular machines: Wipe sweat marks on the consoles, bases, outer casings, upholstery and handrails and safety bars. Dust the sides of treadmills.
IDEA noted that while many gym managers and staff are diligent about cleaning large equipment, smaller equipment also falls by the wayside. Make sure that any and all equipment is regularly inspected and cleaned.
Help customers fight germs
Reducing germs is a group effort, so make it easier for customers to keep equipment and facilities clean. Install hands-free antibacterial hand gel dispensers throughout the facility, with extra dispensers located around the gym equipment and locker rooms. Install disinfectant wipe dispensers near equipment and next to signs that encourage customers to clean the equipment after they're done using it. Additionally, The Complete Guide also advised patrons from using facilities when they are sick and for a full 24 hours after diarrhoea or vomiting.
IDEA advised that managers post signs that remind patrons to regularly wash hands, always wear shoes or sandals in the changing room and shower and refrain from sharing towels.
Also post advice by pools, spas and saunas that discourage users from jumping in if they have open scrapes or cuts.
Choose the right disinfectant
Not all disinfectants and antibacterial sprays have the same effect and work across the board.
Many sprays today are made with quaternary ammonium compounds, which are targeted germ fighters. There are disinfectants made with other chemicals as well, some containing substances that are considered more eco-friendly, like phenol- and alcohol-based cleaners and citrus oils.
However, these two eco-friendly products, among others, can damage and corrode equipment so it's important that gym facility mangers and cleaning staff research and understand the ingredients in their cleaning products to make the safest and most effective choice for their facilities.
In conclusion, clubs need to step up germ-fighting by establishing a comprehensive cleaning plan, involving customers in germ prevention and choosing the right cleaning products.
The Complete Guide to Fitness Facility Management is published by Bloomsbury. Click here for more information.
Images used for illustrative purposes only.
21st January 2015 - STUDY FINDS DIRTY GYMS TURN AWAY MEMBERS
17th January 2015 - QUAYCLEAN READY FOR 2015 AUSTRALIAN OPEN
14th November 2014 - SPOTLESS ACQUIRES ACG SECURITY BUSINESS
14th December 2011 - HOW CLEAN IS YOUR POOL DECK?
3rd December 2011 - FOCUS ON GOOD MANNERS IN THE GYM
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…read more
Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…read more
Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…read more
Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…read more
Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…read more
Ausfit began in 1992, providing software services to the health and fitness sector including ClubWise, a fully hosted web-based product which combines state of the art club management software,…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!