The holidays are finally over for many of us across the country, and we’re ready to start back into work and life with new routines, energized spirits and a renewed outlook for health and fitness. For some, this means adopting new habits such as losing weight, and ditching unhealthy habits like overeating. A gym membership may have been on your own personal wish list this year, or you may have decided to treat yourself to a membership once and for all. A visit to the gym can be life changing—in more ways than one.
Many people are injured at fitness centers nationwide on an annual basis. Some of the injuries come from improper training of the equipment, improper use of the equipment such as lifting too much weight, bending or lifting improperly, or using a machine for which your body is not quite ready to tackle. Other injuries, however, come from malfunctions of the gym equipment or inconsistent repair and maintenance of the equipment. Either way, you don’t want to fall victim to an injury at the onset of your visits, which could mean many, many months before you are back in the gym just when you were starting a new healthy habit.
Before you sign on the dotted line, a visit and personal tour of the gym you are intending to join might be your first course of action. Here’s what to ask, and what to look for when visiting:
- Ask about the maintenance schedule; how do employees know there is a problem with a certain piece of equipment? Do they rely on someone to tell them, or are they regularly checking the equipment as they make their rounds?
- Do you see some equipment that is “out of use” to members? If so, ask how long that piece of equipment has been out of use. If it’s been a few weeks or longer, there may be a sign that the owners of the gym do not have the budget for repair.
- What is the gym’s first aid policy if there is an injury at the gym? Do they even have a first aid policy?
- Ask how often the equipment is inspected. Ask about the newest piece of equipment—and the oldest.
- Ask about the brand of equipment, then do a quick search on the Internet to see if that brand has ever had any recalls. A good source for recalled items is the Consumer Product Safety Commission who offers a recall news feed. You can subscribe to this to be kept up to date on recalls.
Gym equipment falls in the line of product malfunction when something faulty occurs. Often, the faulty equipment is seen among home gym equipment, and products are taken of the market to further prevent others from injury. However, national chains can also purchase equipment that may prove to be faulty, or not installed correctly. Doing your homework before signing up could mean the difference between a one-time visit, and a lifetime of healthy visits. Stay safe this year, at your gym and at home.