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An alarming study reveals just how frequently you need to be cleaning your yoga mat
A regular yoga practice brings us mental clarity, boundless energy and long, lean, bendy limbs (at least, we hope). But with the good, comes the bad. And in this case the ‘bad’ is downright disgusting.
As we enter the dimly lit yoga studio and call the four corners of our mat home for the following 60 minutes, it’s important to note that this ‘home’ is also potentially being shared with up to 100,000 different forms of bacteria.
Yes, that’s right. That cushy yoga mat you sink your face into as you perform downward dog is also likely the host to some seriously gross infectious diseases.
According to US surgeon Dr David Anthony Greuner, “making skin contact with a dirty yoga mat covered in germs and bacteria can lead to skin infections, acne, toenail fungus and even transfer of the herpes virus and staph and strep infections in susceptible individuals.”
Speaking to ELLE, medical professor Dr Robert Lahita revealed “a yoga mat is a perfect incubator for many of our skin infections, mainly because people sweat on them and they are rarely cleaned.”
Setting out to test this theory for themselves, ELLE actually performed a yoga mat swab and the results were, well, scary. Amongst the findings was a bacteria commonly found in people’s mouths, ringworm, Athlete’s foot, an infectious disease called “flesh-eating-step” and a variety of staph.
But wait, there’s more. Research carried out by EllipticalReviews.com revealed an alarming stat that mats used in a hot yoga class presented a staggering 25,533 CFU (‘colony-forming units’). In other words, eight times dirtier than a toilet seat.
Before you set your yoga mat alight and swear off the practice forever, it’s important to remember these studies don’t speak for your mat or your gym.
However, to ensure your next yoga class isn’t going to give you a flesh eating disease, we do recommend wiping down your mat before and after every use.
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If you’re still skeptical, well you can always stick to walking outdoors or treating yourself to a nutrient-rich meal replacement shake to assist with weight management.
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Did you use a yoga mat? Are you surprised by some of these findings?