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 Post subject: Toxic Gyms - Are they worth the tradeoff with minimal harm?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:40 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 39
I just joined this gym, it's pretty new, a little over a year old. So all the materials are all still pretty new. And whenever I walk in there I instantly smell all the off gassing of the toxic materials. I can't help it, I'm very sensitive. Each area of the place has a different smell, but each one is totally off. I walk up the stairs and through one part of it and it smells like a pool to me, even though there is no pool there. Just like chlorine or something. Then I walk in the weight area or spinning room and smell the pure awful smell of rubber. Each area smells different but it all smells like building materials and really bad.

There is not much ventilation either as far as fresh outdoor air coming in. There are several balconies but you have to go out on them to get the fresh outdoor air. I usually have to park several blocks away and by the time that I walk or jog to the gym with the clean outdoor air and then walk inside I smell it all and instantly feel claustrophobic and like I can't breathe as easily as I did outdoors. Instantly I worry again about breathing in and absorbing all these toxins I smell, esp. while breathing so much harder working out and taking in even Deeper breaths of these chemicals in the air. I know this is pretty standard for gyms. I don't know of any gyms that are green or built with toxin free or low toxin materials like natural rubber floors instead of synthetic full of chemical additives etc. I also walked into the yoga room while they were cleaning it and the smell was horrible, I had to leave. It just all concerns me because I know all these environmental toxins really contribute to major health problems and are all carcinogenic.

I also leave after working out there at night and when I get home I usually start feeling really tired, even on the way home. Even a little spacey even. I thought that it was because of the workout itself and low blood sugar, but maybe it has something to do with breathing in the toxins? Because I don't remember feeling that way after working out at home or outdoors. Exercising usually makes me feel more energetic and alert, not the opposite. I'm going to try switching my workouts to the morning and see how I feel after those.

But my main question is do you think the benefits of using the variety of equipment and features of a gym and the health benefits of working out outweigh the health damage of breathing in the toxins in gyms while working out? And do you think that being exposed to that only an hour or two a day would have much effect anyways on our health and toxin level? I know there are toxins everywhere, but when I smell them that strongly, it makes me think that they are that much more concentrated and breathing them in so deeply can't be that good right? Accumulatively. Is there a way to help detox and safeguard ourselves from these toxins both from the gym and in other buildings that are made with a lot of toxic materials? And this is just the toxins, I'm not even talking about the germs and all of the gyms from all the people touching the same equipment and sweating on everything and all. I know that staph and fungus infections are common to spread in gyms and all. Seems like a high risk place in exchange for getting fit and trying to get healthy.

What do you think?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:08 pm 
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Gorilla

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 897
Location: West Virginia
I think that totally avoiding all germs, etc weakens the immune system.

Other than that I really don't know what to say here....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:29 pm 
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Elephant

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 2783
the gym i've been using for years is sealed, fresh air only gets in when people enter or leave, and for a place this size that cannot matter at all. I've had no health problems even though the equipment was new along with the building itself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 39
I'm not talking about the germs, I know about those risks but I'm not too worried about that. I'm talking about all the toxins, the chemicals. These are not natural for our bodies to have to deal with and they accumulate in our organs.

"According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution is responsible for more deaths worldwide than outdoor air in even the most contaminated cities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers indoor air one of the four most urgent environmental health risks in North America (where we don't heat homes with coal or warm food with cow dung), up there with atmospheric air pollution, toxic chemicals in the workplace and contaminated drinking water."

"The highest danger comes from volatile organic chemicals [VOCs], asbestos and radon," explains Robert Eitches, M.D., an allergy specialist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "Those are the indoor air pollutants that would be dangerous in the sense of ending your life too soon." The VOCs contained in paint, varnish, wax and many cleaning products react with one another in the air and can interfere with your body's natural processes. While some VOCs have no known health effects, others can cause medical problems ranging from ear, nose and throat irritation to liver, kidney and central nervous system damage."

"Most adults, when sitting still, take 14 to 20 complete breaths per minute. (That rate can go as high as 80 breaths per minute during a strenuous workout.) With each average inhalation, you take in a pint of air. With a deep breath, you "drink" approximately three times that amount. If all you did was breathe while sitting, then you would consume about 107,000 cubic feet of air per year. That is why air contaminants, measured at parts per million, can eventually overwhelm your body's ability to protect against them."

"Elevated levels of indoor air pollution have also been linked to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue."

"Low quality of air can have major adverse effects on the benefits of exercise by irritating the respiratory system and reducing oxygen flow."

"Exercise makes us more vulnerable to health damage from these pollutants. We breathe more air during exercise or strenuous work. We draw air more deeply into the lungs. And when we exercise heavily, we breathe mostly through the mouth, bypassing the body's first line of defense against pollution, the nose."

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ ... i_68272837

https://www.utexas.edu/research/ceer/es ... doorA.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/library/ ... Indoor_Air


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 10:02 am 
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Elephant

Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 1484
Location: Illinois
I would be hesitant to work out (which makes one breath more deeply) in an environment like that. You might want to avoid that particular gym for a few months, untill the bulk of the outgassing is done (and other people have breathed in the toxins!). Though we are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, I think it's a good idea to avoid those we can avoid.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:15 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 39
CollegeB, thanks for your feedback. At your gym did you ever notice any weird smells though, like chemical or construction type of smells? Besides just the lack of airflow.

Thanks Kathryn. But I think all gyms are like that right? I mean most all gyms have rubber flooring right? And they all use standard cleaning materials as far as I I know of. I'm just very sensitive to smells, I have a very good sense of smell. I don't know if the bad smells mean that it is more toxic then any other indoor environment or not. I mean even natural rubber smells horrible to me.

I know there are gyms that have better air circulation though. But the thing is I'm paying $135 a month on contract. I couldn't just stop going without knowing that I was wasting a huge amount of money for something I'm not using. They have a couple other locations but one is much too far away and the other one is even newer then this location, it just completed construction like a month ago. This location I go to has been open for over 15 months now and I had gone there about 9 months ago to check it out and the smell hasn't really improved. So I don't think in a few more months it will either. I mean it doesn't smell bad like rank or anything weird, it just smells like construction materials in many parts of it. Like a new building smells. The smells of paint, plywood and whatever else is there. Plus all the cleaning materials I guess cause they keep it very clean all day long constantly for hygiene purposes. Which is good, just too bad they don't use natural stuff.

I don't know, I just don't want to avoid it or try to get out of the contract out of paranoia or any irrational fears or obsessions. I have always had OCD tendancies and hypochondria etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:08 pm 
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Elephant

Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:57 pm
Posts: 1242
Location: Portland, OR
I vote for going to the gym.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:03 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:25 pm
Posts: 190
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS at least wash ur hands thoroughly after working out (if not shower!!!) You don't know the kinds of germs that abound in gyms... I didn't either, and that's how I ended up in the hospital last summer with a severe and near-fatal MRSA infection. (6 days in insolation, 2 months on intravenous vancomycin via a PICC line, and 2 months of physical therapy in order to regain the use of my right hand). Not fun. I'll spare u the gory details (unless you want them, and I'll be happy to share! lol), but just be wary of whats lurking microscopically in the gym.

_________________
"May I always be the type of person my dog thinks I am"

"Don't Hassel the Hoff!"

"Don't Mess with the 'S'!"


Last edited by Shelby on Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 10:23 pm 
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Gorilla

Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:51 pm
Posts: 596
Location: TX+CA > Migrated > India
??? GORY DETAILS?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:35 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 39
Do you not go to gyms anymore Shelby? Do you think they're not worth the risk? Maybe not without full clothing and full coverage gloves? Infections can get into hands themselves without even touching other parts of the body. I'm sorry about what happened to you, sounds awful, I'm glad you pulled through. I don't need the details though, knowing that alone already is feeding more obsessions and phobias of mine. I'm seriously going to become very phobic of the gym very soon. I'll need a letter from a psychiatrist to get out of the contract. :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:40 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:25 pm
Posts: 190
nik: I didn't mean to scare ya away from gyms!!!! That TOTALLY WAS NOT MY INTENT!!! Yikes... now I feel horrible! :( Basically, germ and microbes are EVERYWHERE, even in gyms. It's unavoidable, but with proper hygiene and thorough cleaning of equipment, you can prevent illnesses/infections. Plus, the risk of actually contracting something is EXTREMELY RARE!!! What I contracted was like a 1/1,000,000,000 chance (lucky me, eh?!)

What you CAN do to decrease your chances of contracting anything are (and to remind you, the chances of contracting anything is VERY SLIM... our bodies are awesome at killing foreign invaders even BEFORE we notice symptoms, thanks to our immune system and it's associated structures such as mucous membranes, saliva, lymph, WBC, etc.....)
-Wash your hands before and after working out and after using the bathroom
-Wipe off sweaty benches, machines, equipment
-Cover up any cuts or breaks in the skin when working out
-take a shower (wear flip-flops if using the gym's shower)
-eat a nutritious diet
-stay hydrated
-Smile!!!!

Another key thing is not NOT let yourself get too germ-phobic. Don't overuse anti-bacterial soaps and lotions and avoid places/things just because you are afraid of germs. You need to let your body develop defenses against germs and the only way to do this is to be exposed to germs.

I feel REALLY bad that I scared ya with my freaky incident. In fact, I went to the gym as soon as I could after I got discharged from the hospital (with my attractive PICC Line and Hand-brace in place!) Sure, I looked like I had just gotten out of a war (and still felt like poop), but did that stop me from doing something that I LOVED to do??? Not for one second. When I first went back, I was of course weary of contracting another infection, but that quickly ceased. I don't even wear gloves anymore. I eventually changed gyms (to one that was cleaner and more friendly.. but this was unrelated to the MRSA incident), but have I stopped going to the gym b.c of this? HECK NO! So, don't let a little thing like germs keep u from going to the gym! Your body can overcome just about anything and the chances of u contracting anything are extremely small.

_________________
"May I always be the type of person my dog thinks I am"

"Don't Hassel the Hoff!"

"Don't Mess with the 'S'!"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:45 pm 
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Manatee
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 492
Location: portland
I say if you are that worried about it then you won’t enjoy going so maybe you should look for something else to do, maybe so kind of outdoor sport.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:23 pm 
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Elephant

Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:57 pm
Posts: 1242
Location: Portland, OR
Like maybe dragon boating?

;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:17 pm 
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Manatee
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 492
Location: portland
Uh…. Maybe not like dragon boating, the outdoors poses health risks too. Some girl from one of our teams got an eye infection after getting Willamette water under her contact. Blah!

In related news did you hear Portland is being sued be the EPA? (I think I have that right I just heard about it today). One of the last things that Clinton did when he was in office was to have the EPA work with cities to lower the amount of sewer runoff in to rivers. Portland signed some 20 year contract to reduce the amount of runoff from 100 days a year down to 4 days. (Not perfect but no too bad). Now Bush is cracking down more and the Oregon reps are saying it’s all political. This is something that is going to start happening in other cities too, Portland is just the first.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:50 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 39
Don't worry Shelby, you didn't scare me anymore then I was already paranoid. I've already been a germaphobe around people and read many things about drug resistant staph becoming a major problem in gyms and esp. contact sports like football, wrestling and other professional sports. I just hadn't heard of a first hand account from anyone of it happening.

"Louis Meier, MD, emergency room doctor at Palmetto Health Richland, says, “We have seen an increase in MRSA among the community, especially in places like the gym and standard drugs don’t work, so we’re left with an even greater complication.”

An outbreak of MRSA was discovered among football players at Western Carolina University in 2004. It was traced to the locker room, shared towels, equipment and mats."

http://www.latimes.com/news/printeditio ... -headlines

http://www.blogs.mrsaresources.com/2006 ... ome-gym-2/

http://www.jour.sc.edu/pages/wigginsweb/gym.html

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ ... i_n7578582


I'm still going to go though. I think I will just start bringing my own towel and wipes. I do shower as soon as I get home and wash my clothes right away. I just hate having to worry about it and feeling like all my clothes and everything that's touched anything there is somehow contaminated now. But that's just my uptight mind.

Thanks madcat. True, I won't really enjoy it being worried but I never expected to really enjoy working out anyways. And I think the only way to overcome phobias is to face them. I'm sure I would find something to worry about with any kind of outdoor sport as well. I have many friends with horrible long hospital stay stories from outdoor bike riding, and last time I was on my bike I ate pavement with many nasty road burns that are still healing. A person with an anxiety disorder doesn't much enjoy anything because they have a hard time relaxing. I know I have to just address that and overcome it or seek help rather then just avoiding life in general. Thanks everyone!


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