Going to the gym is unquestionably good for your health – but there’s just one part of it that isn’t so healthy. And no, it’s not the post-workout Nando’s you convince yourself you’ve earned every time you beat a PB.

There might be the odd person lingering impatiently, waiting for you to get of the treadmill – but they’re the least of your worries. Because there are also millions of bacteria lingering around on the weights and machines you put your bare hands all over.

New York dermatologist Dr Arash Akhavan told the Daily Mail how to best avoid such germs, which can lead to fungal infections, the common cold and even an MSRA infection.

He advises that you always:

  • Make sure you cover up cuts and scrapes
  • Avoid as much physical contact with others as possible during your workout
  • Wipe down all machinery and weights before you use them

And the worst culprit, Akhavan says, is yoga mats. So if you’re often inclined to get your stretch on, he advises bringing your own mat, or a towel to separate yourself from whatever organisms the last practitioner of the downward dog left for you.

Oh, and to avoid any warts, make sure to wear some sort of shoes in the gym’s shower and locker rooms.