Sweat, heavy breathing, warm temperatures and lots of people — the gym is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in, which is why wiping equipment down is a normal part of gym etiquette.
But does a quick wipe really eliminate all those germs? CBC’s Marketplace swabbed equipment at several popular national gym chains to find out which surface harbours the most bacteria.
With training and supplies from an accredited laboratory in Mississauga, Ont., Marketplace visited some of the largest for-profit gym chains: three GoodLife Fitness, three Anytime Fitness and three Planet Fitness locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Our own microbes are absolutely fine, but the minute that we start touching other people’s microbes, especially if they’re pathogenic, it can lead to infection,” said microbiologist and self-proclaimed “germ guy” Jason Tetro.
While you’re more likely to get sick from someone breathing heavily next to you, there are a few other things lurking at the gym that you should be wary of.