It is cold and flu season and, this year especially, we are all concerned about getting sick. This doesn’t mean you have to stay away from public places like your favourite gym; it just means you need to be more aware of your surroundings and maybe a bit more vigilant at cleaning up after yourself.

So here are some simple tips to keep you germ-free while you are getting healthy:

• Wear clean, indoor shoes in your facility. You may think your outdoor shoes are “clean enough”, but who knows what you just stepped in on your way to the door. Don’t leave it on the floor for others to pick up.

• Use a clean towel and place it on each bench/mat before you lay down on it.

• Clean benches and mats when you are done using them (out of pure respect for those coming after you. You will appreciate the same).

• Select a clean gym to train in. If it looks like it’s not well cleaned then it is your choice to select a different facility.

• If you are have a fever or are feeling ill, stay away from the gym until you are feeling better.

• Wear flip-flops in the change room to both protect you and others.

• Always wash your hands after a workout. Do you see hand sanitizer? Use it.

• If it’s available, use the “hip button” on the water fountain to turn it on instead of using your hands; you know, the button (in front of the fountain) that you just have to lean against.

• Take your workout gear home and wash it. Seriously! This may seem obvious, but too many times I see and smell the workout clothes you wore yesterday.

• Do NOT touch your face with your hands.

• If you have to sneeze, find your towel or a tissue (or at least your elbow).

• Use a towel to sit on in the steam room/sauna.

None of these rules of etiquette are hard to follow; nor are they an excuse to stay away from your local fitness club. Just be aware of your environment, practice proper hygiene and take care of yourself.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE-certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.pkfitness.yk.ca/Clients. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.