The virtues of providing your guests with a functional and well-balanced fitness facility are plentiful and well known. However, ensuring the safety of your guests while they use the facility goes beyond the maintenance of your fitness equipment.

Risk of Infection

Skin-based staph infections can spread through shared gym equipment, mats and towels. Infections tend to occur near a cut or scrape, or body parts that come into direct contact with infected surfaces.

The best defense is good facility hygiene. Remind guests to keep their hands clean, use a barrier like clothing or towels between them and any shared surfaces (like gym equipment), and shower immediately after activities that involve direct skin contact with others.

Disinfecting and Cleaning the Fitness Amenity

Common disinfectants and cleaning agents de-activate within as quickly as one hour after application, thereby leaving surfaces unprotected over 90% of the time. As a general strategy, guests should be reminded to wash their hands and wipe down sweat after using equipment. Subtle but important signage should reinforce these messages in fitness and indoor pool areas.

In addition, frequent inspections will serve to keep both the facility clean and demonstrate to guests that you have a strong commitment to this aspect of their care.

Planning For a Healthy Fitness Facility

The key is to allow for the facility to appear and remain germ free for longer intervals in between cleaning. When designing a new space or re-fitting an existing one, take steps to insure the facility remains easy to clean and engage your guests to keep it that way.

One of the most important steps in keeping a fitness center looking and smelling clean revolves around its floor coverings. It is highly recommended both from a functional as well as a hygienic perspective to utilize rubber flooring. Rubber is easily cleaned with powerful disinfectants and allows for a much quicker removal of sweat after guest use.

Ventilation systems are also an important aspect of the facility. Ensure that HVAC systems have been designed specifically around the often moist and constricted airflow space that is fitness. Frequent replenishment of fresh air vs. recirculation is critical. Open windows or gain airflow naturally from the outside whenever possible.

Give Your Guests Peace of Mind

It’s important to provide guests with hygiene friendly tools that will help them feel empowered to participate in keeping themselves safe and the facility clean. Disinfectant equipment wipes are one of the most common and visually obvious items that can be made available via wall mounted or free standing dispensers. It’s important to select wipes that have been specifically formulated for the gym environment, as they must be alcohol free to be used directly on fitness center equipment.

Hand sanitizer dispensers are also encouraged. Where possible, towel service is an excellent way to further encourage the wiping down of facility equipment after use.

It’s clear that no matter the size of your fitness center, a commitment to a clean and hygienic facility is not optional. Ultimately, creating awareness and visibility around your commitment will enhance the perception you deliver to your guests and demonstrate your care for them in a very important way.

This is an excerpt from the article ‘Managing Hygiene in Hospitality-Based Fitness Centers’ that originally appeared in Hotel Executive.