SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --We all know going to the gym means getting healthy, but it can also mean getting sick, so 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney partnered up with Consumer Reports to find out how to protect yourself.
If your new year's resolution includes hitting the gym, here's an important warning before working out: Health clubs can be a breeding ground for some nasty bacteria, fungi and viruses.
But Consumer Reports reveals there are some simple ways to protect yourself while getting fit such as taking a good look around a gym before you join, check to see if the equipment is well maintained, if the bathrooms and locker rooms are kept clean and stocked with liquid soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. All of that can be indications of how clean a health club is.
Germs that cause skin infections can thrive in the sweat that's left on exercise equipment and towels, as well as the warm, moist areas like pool decks.
Experts at Consumer Reports say common sense strategies can help keep you healthy while working out.
For example, you can start by keeping cuts covered because that's the best way to keep germs out, spread a towel over weight machines and always wear flip flops in wet areas.
Also, bring your own exercise mat and disinfect it regularly because chances are the ones at the gym are not thoroughly cleaned between classes.
Practice good hygiene by wiping down equipment, washing your hands after a workout and showering after a swim. And do your laundry as washing your gear helps prevent germ build up after you bulk up.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)