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Conquer Gym Germs

Sore muscles aren't the only thing you might bring home from the gym. "The warm, damp environment is a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria," says University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, Ph.D. Tips for kicking the worst germy-gym offenders:

Yoga Mat and Exercise Machines
Shared gym equipment is literally crawling with creepies.
The Cleanup Bring your own mat. Or, if your gym doesn't stock spray sanitizers and paper towels, keep a stash of antibacterial wipes handy to clean mats and shared gear before and after you use them. If you don't plan to shower, at least wash your hands or use a sanitizing gel post-workout.

Workout Clothes
You ball up your sweaty shirt and shorts, and leave them in your bag for hours -- or days.
The Cleanup Put damp clothing and shoes in plastic bags before popping them in your gym bag. Take them out as soon as you get home, and toss clothing into the washing machine or hang it up to dry until you can get to the laundry.

Gym Bag
It's stuffed with smelly gear, and you leave it lying on dirty locker-room floors.
The Cleanup Wipe it down inside and out once a week with an antibacterial wipe, and leave it unzipped as often as possible to dry and air out the interior. And never plop your bag directly on the locker-room floor -- place a towel under it or hang it from a hook.

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