Special Report

18 Super Dirty Spots at the Gym That Can Make You Sick

Going to the gym deserves admiration. You have taken a step towards becoming healthier, but now you have to be careful not to actually get sick. The sad truth is that gyms can be germ-infested facilities.

No place in the gym is completely safe. Any area — from the locker room to the zone with cardio equipment — is basically a breeding ground for bacteria, with more than 20 categories of harmful pathogens, according to one study that tested four fitness centers in Memphis, Tennessee, for a variety of germs.

Most of the health problems that come from visiting the gym are skin infections, according to Consumer Reports. That’s because the bacteria and fungi that cause the most common skin infections thrive in warm and moist environments — just like those created by the sweat that gets left on exercise equipment and towels.

Most of the germs found in gyms are pathogenic microorganisms that will only cause mild, if any, health problems. After all, millions of people go to the gym every day and they are fine. However, it is possible to catch more serious diseases, including MRSA, an antibacterial-resistant staph infection that kills about 20,000 Americans a year. Take a look at some infections even doctors are afraid of.

Click here to see 18 of the dirtiest places in gyms.