Why Keeping Your Fitness Center Clean is Vital

Posted by Mike Rucker on Nov 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

A clean fitness center is the key to a successful and healthy business.

One of the first things you notice when you walk into a fitness center is how clean it is. The facility can be large and extremely modern, with all the latest equipment and stylish interior design, but if it is unclean or unsanitary in any way, members will most definitely notice. According to the "Guide to Health Club Cleanliness", published by the IHRSA, fifty-six percent of fitness club members expect their workout environment to be free of germs. The report also indicated that a fitness center's performance and revenue are directly related to its cleanliness, and that clean fitness centers have higher member retention.

Fitness Center Microbiology

Keeping your fitness center clean is not simply about its visual appeal. There are a number of organisms that can become plentiful in the moist and humid environments throughout a fitness center, everything from influenza to athlete's foot. When it comes to keeping your fitness center clean, it is important to know your microorganism enemies.

The most common microorganism in a gym area is Staphylococcus aureus (abbr. S. aureus). S. aureus can be found literally anywhere and everywhere that can be touched or that comes in contact with sweat or any other body fluids.

Many organisms, including bacteria, can be found on the equipment and other surfaces in a fitness center.

Influenza is another common microorganism in gyms. Many members will still attempt to workout when they are in the early stages of the flu, spreading the virus around them when they cough or sneeze.

Fungus is also very common in gyms, especially a group of fungal infections called dermatophytes. These dermatophytes infect the epidermal tissue, hair and nails, with one of the most common infections known as athlete's foot. Dermatophyte infections can be contracted through direct person-to-person contact, or through coming in contact the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as their sweat on a workout mat.

Clean Fitness Center Design

Planning for a clean fitness center begins in the planning and design stage. Consulting with a fitness management company such as Active Wellness can be invaluable at this stage, helping you to incorporate elements into the design that will promote cleanliness and overall health. For example, a high-filtration vacuum system may be installed, which will remove not only dirt but also the dead germs that are present on floors and hard surfaces. Good drainage in the shower room areas is also important to deter breeding ground of certain bacteria and fungi.

Tips for Keeping Your Fitness Center Clean

The most important way to keep your fitness center clean is to educate your cleaning staff, and your entire staff, about the correct way to clean and maintain the equipment and the entire space. Ensure that they know about the "hot spots" where bacteria, viruses, and fungi can lurk, including door handles, stretching mats, stability balls and hand weights.

Though some bacteria, such as S. aureus, can be notoriously difficult to kill, you can up your chances of getting it by using a hospital-grade cleaner that contains at least 10 percent bleach. A full-spectrum cleaner may also be effective.

Finally, provide your members with the means to protect themselves. Dispensers with hand sanitizer, and separate cleansing cloths for the equipment and for people should be accessible throughout the fitness center. It is also important to promote proper hand washing techniques, for both staff and members.

A clean, healthy fitness environment welcomes members and encourages them to come back.

Maintaining a clean fitness center can seem like an insurmountable task. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi thrive in the high-traffic environment, but taking the time to clean the facility the right way, and giving members the tools they need to keep the facility clean on an individual basis, you can ensure that your fitness center stays clean and successful.