If you're looking for an excuse to skip the gym, this one might actually be pretty valid.

I'm going to start by saying that I love the gym. Ok, I don't actually LOVE it, because exercise is hard, but it is definitely my preferred location for working out. If I'm not in an environment where everyone around me is exercising, then I'm just not motivated. That's why this news freaks me out a little. I typically go to the gym five days a week, and I use free weights and machines, like the elliptical and the treadmill. Turns out, those sorts of things are like a haven for bacteria.

A new survey examined 27 different pieces of exercise equipment at three different gyms, and they tested the samples to find out the bacteria levels on each one. Your average treadmill, exercise bike, and free weights contain more than one MILLION bacteria per square inch. That's a whole lot of germs.

All three different types of equipment contain gram-positive cocci (causes skin infections, pneumonia, septicemia), gram-negative rods (90-95% are harmful to humans), and gram-positive rods (not usually harmful to humans). Both the exercise bikes and the free weights also contain Bacillus, which can sometimes cause ear, eye, and respiratory conditions, among other things.

Now, you're probably thinking, "aren't these germs everywhere, though?" The answer to that is YES, but gym equipment just has more. For example, your average free weight has 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, a treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a water faucet, and an exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a plastic reusable cafeteria tray.

This isn't meant to scare you, but basically to make you more aware. Some advice for gym-goers: disinfect your machine before AND after your workout (you never know if the person before you did or not), don't touch your face, and always immediately wash your hands and change out of your clothes after a workout. Or you could always invest in some equipment for your own home, so the only germs you have to worry about are your own!

For more details on gym germs, click HERE.

[Via Fit Rated]