Microbiologist finds high levels of bacteria in gym equipment

  • MMU professor called in for Channel 4 programme
  • Much gym equipment 'dirtier than toilet seats'
  • Bacteria from sweat could lead to tummy bugs and boils, says expert

An infectious diseases specialist helped a TV show reveal that sweaty gym equipment can harbour 350 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Microbiology professor Mark Enright found harmful bacteria such as MRSA and E coli on sweaty gym equipment.

Professor Enright, who teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University, recently appeared on the Channel 4 show, How to Stay Well, where he was brought in as an expert to test high street gyms for harmful bacteria.

On the programme, he revealed that he had found dangerous the superbug MRSA on gym equipment.

Professor Enright said: “We found lots of harmful bacteria. We found MRSA, we found E coli and faecal bacteria.”

He also said they found other bacteria that would be “probably harmless” but could cause boils and mild food poisoning.

Professor Enright said: “We did see a lot of variation in the gyms. I mean a lot of them, most of them, were fairly contaminated as far as we could see but there were one or two examples where there pretty much no bacteria on some of the samples.

“The large variation in contamination level between gyms indicates that effective personal hygiene and gym maintenance could have a strong effect on reducing bacterial numbers.

“We found lots of harmful bacteria. We found MRSA, we found E coli and faecal bacteria.”



The Northern Quota spoke to gym members about Professor Enright’s findings.

Gym user John Bradburn, 29, said: “The reports are quite disturbing. I wonder why this has come about – a lack of thorough cleaning springs to mind. It doesn’t put me off going to the gym, but I will be more wary when using equipment in the future.

“I’m certainly surprised, I hadn’t realised gym equipment could be so unhygienic.”

Marc Valentine, duty manager at Sugden Sports centre on Platt Lane in Manchester, added: “We advise our gym members to wear the appropriate gym clothes and follow gym etiquette: always use a towel to wipe down machines after use, use anti-bacterial gel which is situated around the gym.”

Watch the trailer for the show below.