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If you have heard before that exercising can ward off the flu and colds, you stand corrected. But if you have been hitting the gym and still getting some nasty viruses, you may want to take a closer look at your gym bag.

First off, if you are tossing your damp clothes, swimsuit or towel into the bag after a workout, you may be attracting millions of little germs that could be resulting in some illnesses or infection. This is an ideal location for bacteria to thrive and do the things that they do.

Second, we tend to want to put our bag on the gym or bathroom floor. This is a haven for some creepy, crawling germs to infest inside of your bag and belongings.

Let's not forget about our flip flops and water bottles. Flip flops are typically used in the shower, sauna and locker room and are all perfect places for fungi and bacteria to buildup.

Our water bottles also can be a perfect carrier for germs to get to one place from another. Bottles with pull up tops can be the biggest culprit because the germs on your hands get into the opening crevices and into your mouth.

How about yoga mats? Definitely hotbeds for bacteria because we will sweat on it during our session, roll it up and forget about it for a week or until our next class.

 Now we need to discuss some remedies to try and eliminate the formation of these pesky germs that can weaken our immune systems and open us up for all sorts of colds and unwanted viruses:

- Put all damp belongings in a plastic bag or mesh pocket and wash them as soon as you can. If you know you can't get to the laundry soon, at least hang dry them to avoid the bacteria or mold from multiplying. Avoid leaving damp clothes or towels in your bag more than a couple of hours.

- Regularly empty out your gym bag and let it air out. Try to wash it weekly with very hot water or a disinfectant wipe and avoid putting it down on the locker room floor.

- Put flip flops in a plastic bag and remember to pull them out and spray with a disinfecting cleanser and let them completely dry before using them again.

- Get a screw cap water bottle. If for some reason that is not possible, pull up the tops off with your teeth and wash them in a very high heat (dishwasher).

- After yoga class, wipe down your mat with a disinfecting wipe or dry it with a clean towel before rolling it up again.
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