Gym Equipment Has Over 362 Times More Bacteria Than A Toilet Seat, See The Top Offenders

Tara West

While most people hitting up the gym are hoping to increase their level of health, researchers have discovered that gym-goers may be placing themselves at risk for a host of harmful bacteria, thanks to low levels of cleanliness in their fitness center of choice. In fact, certain areas of the gym proved to be rife with bacteria that could cause pneumonia, septicemia, and skin infections at levels 362 times that of a toilet seat. So which areas of the gym have the most bacteria and what precautions can you take to ensure your trip to the gym stays healthy?

The Daily Mail reports that researchers at FitRated gathered swab samples from 27 different pieces of gym equipment at three different gyms to determine exactly which items in your local fitness center are most likely to be a hotspot for bacteria. The swabs uncovered startling information, as over 70 percent of the swab samples contained bacteria that is deemed potentially harmful to humans.

The researchers reveal that a piece of gym equipment likely contains more than 1 million germs per square inch with over 70 percent of those germs considered harmful. The three top fitness center offenders included the treadmill, exercise bike, and free weights. The treadmill and exercise bike contained over 1.3 million bacteria per square inch on average at the three gyms tested, with the free weights clocking in at just over 1.1 million bacteria per square inch.

— WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston) April 11, 2016

While the gram-positive and bacillus samples are typically not of a concern to fitness buffs, the gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci could prove harmful to anyone who touches the gym equipment without first thoroughly sanitizing the area. FitRated says there are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of bacteria at the gym. First, always sanitize equipment before each use. Though the sign in the gym likely reads "sanitize after use," FitRated notes it is best to take your health into your own hands and sanitize your own equipment each time.

— HuffPostUK Lifestyle (@HuffPoLifestyle) April 8, 2016

Did you know that a gym equipment harbors more bacteria than a toilet seat?

[Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images]