Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Gym Locker

| 26 Sep 2012 | 11:13

    Students often find middle school or high school is their first foray into a structured physical education class that requires changing into a gym uniform or workout clothing. With this comes the responsibility of outfitting and maintaining another locker on campus.
    A gym locker is different from a regular hallway locker in that it is often smaller and less frequently used. While some students may have gym every day of the week, others might have it two or three times a week. Even if it is visited daily, it's only during the one gym period.
    Gym lockers can be breeding grounds for some unsavory things, including bacteria, fungi and odor. That's because they store clothing that is often damp from perspiration in tight quarters. It also may be easy for lice or bed bugs to spread through the close contact of gym lockers.
    Students can ensure their belongings are safe and secure by following a few safety and hygiene practices.
    * Find out the wardrobe policy. Some schools require an issued uniform. Many others indicate the use of T-shirts, shorts of a specific length and sweatpants. There also may be requirements on footwear. Stock up on these items so you'll have a few changes of clothes as necessary.
    * If a combination lock has not been issued to you, purchase one to keep items safe. While potential thieves may not be interested in dirty socks or gym shorts, they may be interested in the digital devices, watches, clothing, and other items stored in gym lockers while you're participating in gym class.
    * Keep toiletries, such as antiperspirant, powder, sanitary pads, soap, shampoo (if there are showers), and a pair of water-resistant sandals handy.
    * Because many microscopic organisms breed with warmth and moisture, something that is often in abundance in locker rooms, investing in some antibacterial spray, a desiccant product that absorbs moisture and an air freshener can keep your locker more sanitary.
    * Depending on how dirty gym clothes become, you'll want to bring them home at least once a week for laundering. Take dirty socks home daily because they can fester inside of the locker.
    * A large zipper-top bag or a recycled grocery bag is a good way to tote home dirty gym clothing inside of your backpack.
    * Be aware that the locker room floor may be teeming with bacteria, so avoid changing with bare feet on the ground.