The Florida Gulf Coast University gym has set restrictions attempting to decrease the spread of infections by restricting clothing such as cutoff shirts. Altered shirts showing more skin are only allowed if an undershirt is worn beneath it. Without an undershirt, more skin is exposed to sweat and dirt on the machines, which spreads germs. The most common types of germs spread at gyms are staph infection, E. Coli, ringworm, strep throat, HPV and the fl u, according to Men’s Health Magazine. Suzanne Ries, assistant director at FGCU’s Campus Recreation, said that the rule was in place before she started working at FGCU three years ago. Ries also said it’s diffi cult to track the effectiveness of the rule.
“We’ve had a couple [incidents], but it’s hard to trace back the occurrences directly to our gym,” Ries said. Kristin Phillipine, registered nurse at FGCU Student Health Services, corroborated, saying that it’s impossible to pinpoint where the bacteria or illness was contracted.
But, Phillipine said that wipes show a signifi cant reduction in the spread of viruses and bacteria. “The best proven method to reduce the spread of germs would be through hand washing and keeping the equipment clean,” Phillipine said, “it should be wiped down with appropriate germicidal wipes after each use.”
The FGCU gym staff cleans the machines three times a day, morning, afternoon and night, and closes for a week once a year to do a deep cleaning. Although exposed torsos leave the largest trace of sweat and bacteria, too short shorts are also a threat and may send you packing your gym bag. Ries said that any questionable clothing is at the discretion of Campus Rec employees. Tess DuRant, facility manager at the FGCU gym, said that although a sign states the rules of attire when you walk in, almost 10 students a day are asked to change their clothing before working out. The rules recently were added to the website after Campus Rec forgot to include them again after redesigning their website, according to Ries. All Campus Rec rules are also addressed at freshman and transfer orientations, Ries said. Out of 10 students I spoke with, all opposed the rule. Dan Weiner, senior majoring in exercise science, is especially annoyed by the rule since he doesn’t live on campus.
“I don’t think you should get thrown out for a shirt. I live off campus, and I’m not driving all the way home for a new one,” Wiener said. “If it’s that big of a deal, they can watch me wipe off the machines I use.”