With summer now here many people are in full swing fitness mode, well on the way to their desired summer body. For most, this involves a combination of following a healthy diet and keeping up with an intensive fitness regime to utilise the time and money on sometimes quite costly memberships at the gym. Society is becoming far more focused on following a healthier lifestyle than in recent years, with the 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealing that 1 in every 7 people are members of a gym, with industry membership up 5.1% to 9.7 Million.
Though gyms can seem the trendy and healthiest place to be they can also be one of the most dangerous. The risks are reflected in the clear age limit in place restricting membership to anyone under the age of 16 and also the often compulsory requirement for all new members to have an induction, usually comprising a tour of the gym and delivery of all the information and instructions necessary to ensure safe use for all on the equipment. However, it is still important to remember you are in an environment with a high possibility of an accident through your own misuse of equipment or due to negligence by the gym itself.
Here’s a few top tips for staying safe whilst visiting the gym.
Choosing your gym
Finding the right gym for you is the essential first step. For many, the most convenient location would be the most important thing, with a short journey necessary to make sure it’s convenient to attend regularly. However, to really make the most of the membership, time should be taken to source other alternatives, taking a look at class schedules, equipment and even making the most of free trials to get a feel for space and equipment available. Try to speak to other members for personal reviews and also the staff – making sure they have the experience needed and share the best interests for all their members.
Looking into the level of safety at the gym should be the next priority but one many people may overlook. By law, all gym operators and its staff have a legal requirement to provide and maintain a safe environment under the Liability Act, 1957, but it is fair to say that most gyms these days will have all the relevant health and safety in place from making sure equipment is safe to keeping all staff highly trained to deliver fitness advice and also provide first responder emergency assistance in the event of an accident or injury.
However, despite these proactive steps for minimizing any risks, it is still common when officially joining the gym to be asked to sign a disclaimer. This is in place to say that you have been given training on certain equipment and know what to do in the event of an accident. Even after an induction unless you are under the care of a personal trainer you will then be free to use all the equipment and classes at your leisure and with this comes the responsibility to yourself of knowing your limits, keeping yourself nourished and hydrated and working out to a level that is safe for you. But even with the right methods and preparation it is still possible for accidents to occur whether it be misusing a piece of equipment, the fault of another member or negligence by the gym itself.
In a lot of cases it can be beneficial to consult with a doctor before undergoing any new diet or exercise regime. Having a check up on your health can give you a good indicator on the levels of exercise that would be good for you. It is possible they might conduct some tests and investigate any medical conditions or medical history that might affect your ability to exercise. They can also offer advice on a diet plan or offer help by outing together a diet plan that will work well alongside an exercise plan. It is also important to remember that ongoing visits to your GP are also beneficial if you are prone to any recurring aches and pains before continuing exercise to prevent further injury and insuring a safe workout.
If you do have any conditions or you are recovering from any ongoing injuries it is also important to speak with any instructors at the gym. This might fall as part of an induction to make them aware of any conditions you might have and can tailor an exercise regime to your abilities so you know you are capable at using certain machinery, weights and have the fitness levels to be active in classes.
In the event of an Accident
If any accident does take place at your gym or you suffer an injury, it can be quite daunting in such a public environment. Your first instinct might be to feel embarrassed but if someone has not come to your assistance, it is important to get the help you need by trying to call an instructor, or if there is another member working out nearby they can get help for you. By this time you might have a few people surrounding you but especially if you feel this was an incident that was down to another parties negligence and could have been avoided it is important to try to remember any details of the incident, equipment used and if you have a phone/camera nearby take any pictures as evidence. If there were any witnesses to this incident ask them if they are willing to backup your events.
If you feel your accident was due to negligence at the gym it can be frustrating and an injury can take weeks or in lots of cases months to recover. In this instance it is also important you keep a record of any further appointments and notes from any GP’s and physios seen as well as details of any loss of earnings or incurred costs from treatments and appointments.
If you feel the gym is at fault for your injury, the first step is to speak with a solicitor, who from a legal perspective can advise on your case, advise if you have grounds for a claim and if so, take you through how to claim compensation for a gym accident .
While the gym is for many beneficial in achieving desired health benefits and reaching their desired fitness goals it is also important to put these steps in place to insure you are exercising safely and in a safe environment and limit the chances of an accident happening to you.