Gyms are usually the places people go to get healthy, but with all that sweat and heavy breathing, they're also places where germs can thrive. That's why wiping down equipment before and after you use it is not only a cornerstone of gym etiquette, it's also an essential step in keeping yourself in peak physical condition.
A common bug in workout facilities is rhinovirus, which is found on about 63 percent of all equipment [source: Rini]. It's the main cause of the common cold and is often transmitted by sneezing, coughing or touching germy, hard surfaces, where it can live for a full week.
If you want to reduce your chances of picking up these nasty little gym rats, take a minute before you start working out to wipe down the parts of the equipment you're likely to touch, like control panels, bars and handles. And don't forget to clean up after you're done, too — just in case you left some germs of your own. Gyms typically provide antibacterial spray and paper towels for its contagion-conscious customers, so simply locate these clean-up stations and sanitize away!