Health and Fitness: Brush up on proper gym etiquette

Pet peeve — noun: a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear.

We all have ’em. They’re sometimes justified, sometimes unwarranted, but always bothersome. Either way, workout etiquette is workout etiquette. Here are some commonly ignored manners to keep in mind next time you exercise:

– Wipe down your machine. Germs breed in moist, warm places like the gym. Even though you shouldn’t be going if you’re sick (this is very inconsiderate to others as well as to your body) it’s best if you clean off parts of the machine you’ve touched after using it.

– Don’t block the machines. It’s one thing if you’re there at 10:45 p.m., when only a few people are left. It’s another if you’re working out right before dinner, when the gym is packed. Don’t sit on the machine in between your sets. Someone else could easily get a set done while you’re resting.

– Be gentle with the weights. This means don’t let them slam down either between reps or after a set. It’s loud, annoying and also shows that you’re not exercising properly. Also, put the weights back on the racks after you’re done.

– Put the cell phone away. And keep it there. I’m not sure what the deal is with people talking while puffing away on the elliptical, but most people probably don’t want to hear about your crazy night or your weekend plans. It’s inconsiderate and disruptive to fellow exercisers’ mental focus.

– Take one magazine at a time. It’s annoying to see people take more than one of the same kind of magazine, leaving you with a small selection that doesn’t interest you. You can always pause your cardio machine and switch your mags mid-workout.

– Keep personal belongings in the locker room. It has become popular to leave coats, magazines and music players strewn across the mats. You might think it’s harmless in the corner, but someone else might think that spot is taken. Just leave it in the locker; staff will even supply you with a lock. Along with this, position yourself on the mat so that other people could easily sit beside you. Awkward spacing sometimes leaves an area too small to stretch in, but large enough to waste space.

Although it’s easy to get annoyed and point a sweaty finger at another exerciser (believe me, I do it too) the most effective way to handle these scenarios is to simply speak up. At times we stress about situations that are completely in our control to change. So change them — politely, of course. And always show the same courtesy and respect to others as you wish to be shown to you.

– Amanda Sandlin

Senior journalism major

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