Getting into yoga? Great! The benefits can be increased flexibility, improved cardio performance and weight loss. Unfortunately, the drawback might be herpes.
Yes, my dear aspiring yogis, you read that correctly. According to Dr. David Greuner, managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates, communal yoga mats are a veritable hotbed for bacteria and viruses like herpes, thanks to the sweaty and humid environs found in yoga studios: “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.”
Although rare, transference of viruses like herpes, flu and bacteria like MRSA via contact with a contaminated object is possible, and considering how nasty yoga mats are — they’re constantly in contact with the hands, feet and sweaty bodies of hundreds of people each week — you run the risk of picking up something.
If you want to be safe, Dr. Greuner recommends you buy your own mat and keep it clean. And if you’re skeptical about this whole new-age yoga fad, and don’t want to spend the $30 or so it costs to buy your own mat, at least wipe the communal mats down with hand sanitizer and use a towel for cover.
A few other things we learned about our bodies today:
- If you’re over 65, have disposable income and are a weakling, do your shopping at the mall to build strength.
- Good news for psychedelic lovers: Ayahuasca is being researched for its positive effects on mental health.
- If you’re not washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, don’t consider yourself clean.
- The ideal poo looks like a log and has an ice cream texture. Now you know.
- Men who sauna are men at lower risk of heart attack.
- Speaking of heart attacks, if you think you’re having one, chew on an aspirin tablet until the ambulance arrives. It can ease the risk of blockages in your arteries.
- In today’s “no, duh” news, eyeball tattoos are really bad for your eyes.