FAQ: December 2014

By AFM Staff – December 1, 2014


I am scared to death that I will go to the gym and pick up the Ebola virus from the equipment. Is this even possible?

A: Take a deep breath. Ebola, while scary, is a virus. People transmit this illness only when they are symptomatic and via two basic conditions. They must have a fever, and others can be exposed through contact with their blood, vomit, and diarrhea. Unlike colds or the flu, the Ebola virus doesn’t live very long on surfaces, and there’s been no evidence that it is passed along by contact with areas touched by someone symptomatic who has, for example, sneezed onto a hand. The virus must be very concentrated to appear in saliva and mucus, and those extremely ill people aren’t heading to the gym—they’re too sick. In order to get Ebola from blood, vomit, or diarrhea, you must have touched contaminated bodily fluid and then had contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, the short answer? No, you’re not going to get Ebola at the gym, although it’s always a good idea to wash your hands and wipe down the equipment before and after use.


The woman next to me grunts all the time during her workouts. Ugh! Why does anyone do that? Can I tell her to stop?

A: Some people just can’t help it. Depending on the exercise and the amount of exertion—and the individual involved—noise just happens sometimes. If it is really offensive to you and acts as a big deal breaker on a workout, join Planet Fitness; the gym has a posted “no grunting” policy. As for saying anything to the grunter-in-question, we’ll let that be your call.  


Whenever I run, my fingers swell up and get super puffy. I’ve asked my friends about this, but no one seems to have a good answer. It’s not painful, but I’m curious…what’s going on? 

A: You’re not alone. This is a common side effect some exercisers face, the cause of which stems from how the circulatory system deals with the increased demands of exercise. Hand puffiness is especially common in cold weather. As the body sends more blood to the heart, lungs, and muscles, circulation in the hands decreases. Because of this, blood vessels in the hands and fingers react by opening wider–or swelling–in an attempt to enhance blood flow and normalize temperature. Often, this is attributed to not having enough electrolytes or sodium in the system or water retention. While these imbalances do cause swelling, correction is often a shot in the dark. Some tips to help reduce swelling: avoid wearing rings, shake out or open and close your hands every so often, and lift your arms and hands above the head as you move. Your symptoms should go away within an hour after your exercise. afm


Related Articles

Learn More