A Fix for Gym Gross-Outs

Bustle | Picture credit see below (1)

It’s safe to say that most of us have visited a gym or fitness facility at some point in our lives (whether it’s on a regular basis or as a last-minute New Year’s resolution).  We all know the stereotypes:  the girl sprinting on the treadmill for 2 hours straight without breaking a sweat, the woman reading “Better Homes and Gardens” while casually riding the stationary bike , the guy lifting dumbbells the size of a 4th grade child and checking his form in the mirror a bit too often.  But what most of us don’t realize is the indirect interactions and contact we have with our fellow gym-goers.

I came across an article on today.com  rightly titled “You won’t believe these gym gross-outs” written by Bill Briggs.  “Exercise buffs were asked last month, via an online poll, to list ‘the dirtiest object or behavior’ they’ve ever seen in an athletic facility.  They were urged to ‘please be as descriptive as possible.’  Oh, and the people obliged – just in time for the January surge of membership deals from your local gyms.  ‘[A] body builder farted as I was inhaling about to bench press,’  wrote a 49-year-old man.  ‘A woman soiled herself while weight lifting,’  added a 76-year-old man.”  But some of the accountants participants witnessed were much more disturbing:  “janitors using [the] same towels people use to wipe their bodies to clean the bathroom floor/toilet” or the story where “a man went to go bench press and the weights fell on him causing him to bleed and no one went to clean it up … about an hour after the ambulance came for the first gentleman … the blood was still present.” Really think about it;  how often do you pay attention to the cleanliness of your gym if the mess isn’t directly in front of you?

The most obvious problem with an unclean gym is that it drives people away.  Going into a facility locker room and seeing that the trash can is over flowing, the toilet paper dispense is empty, or (in a worst-case scenario) blood has neglected to be cleaned from the floor, really turns people away from wanting to exercise in that gym.  It gives the impression that the facility could care less about maintaining itself, and if employees can’t be bothered to clean, would they assist me if I needed it?  Is this facility actually interested in my experience and well-being?  And lack of cleanliness can have more serious outcomes than just deterring people from returning.

As Briggs’ article addresses, some serious diseases can be transferred in an unclean gym.  All it takes is a little sweat to to be left on a piece of equipment for germs to be passed along..  Skin and nail conditions such as athlete’s foot and ring worm are just the beginning.  Sweat from a someone with the flu can infect anyone who comes into contact with it.  As described in Briggs’ article, cases of Legionnaire’s disease (a serious type of pneumonia) have been traced back to improperly cleaned pools in athletic facilities.   A clean gym is not only necessary to keep members happy and coming back, but also to keep them healthy.

TODAY Health & Wellness | Picture credit see below (2)

Radianse has developed a system aimed towards improving overall cleanliness in fitness facilities.  Using a series of technologies, the system is able to track levels of consumable items (such as paper towels and toilet paper), count the number of people who have entered the locker rooms, and send alerts to the front desk informing an employee when something needs to be cleaned or refilled. The Radianse system allows members to view what percent of the staff’s scheduled cleaning has been completed, when, and where.  All of this information is on open display to members from a dashboard screen at reception.

Of course, the system is not an end-all-be-all; we don’t have robots with squirt bottles and paper towels zooming around catching every drop of sweat before it hits the floor (yet).  But the system is a major improvement from the way facilities rely on cleaning now, and with continually developing technology it is sure to provide even more of an improvement in the future.

Let us know what you think, especially when it comes to your gym gross-out experiences.  Radianse is here to help.  Give us a call at (603) 994-2200 or send me an email to carolyn.riel@radianse.com.  We’d enjoy hearing from you!

(1) Bustle | http://www.bustle.com/articles/40958-33-things-easily-grossed-out-people-understand-like-the-fact-that-sponges-and-mayonnaise-are-the
(2) TODAY Health & Wellness | http://www.today.com/health/you-wont-believe-these-gym-gross-outs-1B7956813