A Guide for Gym Owners
At the core of any exercise regimen is a desire for the person taking it to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. However, exercise is an extremely complex subject and most people end up making more mistakes than they probably realize. While exercise does not stand for pain and injury, these happen much more than most people care to acknowledge.
Injuries in Australia’s fitness industry are quite common. Statistics point out that in 2016-2017, a total of 58,500 persons were hospitalised for sport-related injuries. Injuries at the gym are not considered random and uncontrollable acts of fate. Rather, they are considered predictable and preventable.
As a gym owner, you may be held liable to compensate clients that injured while exercising if you are found negligent. In this case, negligence not only relates to the state of the materials used or even the state of the premises but also includes the lack of providing users with proper information and/or advice. A fitness services provider may also be deemed negligent if they fail to comply with standards set forth by the authorities.
Types of Injuries Gym Owners Should be Aware of
The three types of injuries gym owners need to be aware of and educate their members on are acute, chronic and injuries resulting from overuse.
Fractures, sprains, strains and tears are all good examples of acute injuries. Common signs of acute injuries include instant pain or an instant inability to continue exercising. Encourage any member who has sustained an acute injury to get definitive care after an x-ray. A physician may advise them to use immobilization materials or slings.
A chronic injury is different from an acute injury as it is not instant but gradual. This means that the gym member may not even recall when the injury occurred or even how it happened. In that case, you should encourage gentle stretches, lots of rest and professional advice.
An overuse injury may occur if a gym member continually stresses a particular body part over a long time. Overuse injuries mostly happen due to poor exercising techniques, repetitive exercises due to a lack of variety in exercising programs and inadequate recovery after an acute or a chronic injury. In case of an overuse injury, encourage the gym member to take a break or decrease the frequency stressful activity. Icing before and after exercising may also help alleviate the discomfort. Ensure that you also offer isometric strengthening exercises.
Common Injuries at The Gym
Some of the most common injuries gym owners and members should be aware of include:
- Shoulder and neck injuries
The sedentary nature of most office jobs has caused many people to undertake exercises that reduce tightness around the neck and take care of the hunched muscles along the upper back.
Shoulder and neck-related injuries are mostly caused by training errors such as exercising vigorously rather than easing into the workout and gradually increasing vigour. The victim may also have exercised too frequently without giving the neck and shoulder muscles and tendons time to recover between workouts.
Treatment for neck and shoulder injuries vary depending on their severity. Small tears may only require physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medication while severe injuries such as severe rotator cuff tears may require surgery.
- Lower back injuries
Lower back sprains and strains are often due to improper lifting techniques, lifting too much weight or overuse. While these types of pain normally go away on their own or can be alleviated using over the counter anti-inflammatory and pain medication, you will need to advise your members to see a doctor if:-
- The pain persists for more than a month
- The pain and discomfort affect your walking or balance
- The pain gets worse over time
- The pain extends to your legs
- You start experiencing changes in your bladder or bowel movements
- Knee injuries
Just like lower back pains, knee injuries are often caused by sedentary lifestyles. High-intensity exercises are also a common cause of knee injuries.
Gym owners and instructors should ensure that they prescribe exercise programs that stabilize the muscles around the knees. Gym members can minimize their chances of sustaining knee-related injuries by avoiding deep squats where the hips go lower than the hips. Encourage members to practice caution and proper techniques when performing twisting motions as they cause considerable stress to the knees’ meniscus.
Treatment options for knee injuries include physical therapy, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, injections and rest. If a member has a knee injury resulting in loss of range of motion, they may have to go through surgery.
- Foot and ankle injuries
You can help prevent foot and ankle injuries at your facility by encouraging gym members to wear the right type of shoes. Shoes that do not cushion the heel or support the arch of their feet can cause pain. Wearing shoes that are too tight may lead to damage to the nerve tissues in the feet.
Encourage your gym members to also wear wicking socks. This helps avoid blisters that could become a lot worse if they get infected.
Teach them on how to correctly use exercise equipment as well as how to maintain a correct posture while exercising. This minimizes the chances of foot and ankle sprains and strains due to lack of stability.
Causes of Injuries at the Gym
You can avoid incurring heavy penalties due to negligence by familiarizing yourself with the most common causes of injuries in gyms.
- Too much exercise
If some exercise is good then more must be better, right? Wrong. Gym instructors need to manage and customize their clients’ training programs depending on their lifestyles, body physique and needs. While exercising should be an integral part of everybody’s life, encourage them to also practice good nutrition, stay hydrated and make time to unwind and sleep.
- Incorrect exercising techniques
Most weight training injuries are caused by poor or incorrect exercising techniques. Incorrect pulling or lifting of weights can wrench muscles or teat delicate tissues.
Everyone’s body is different. This means that each of us can only move our arms and legs in specific ways especially when weight-training. Ensure that the members at your facility use appropriate weights. Encourage them to avoid twisting and turning while lifting weights.
Before engaging in any new exercise, encourage your clients to learn how to properly go about it no matter how simple it appears. You can achieve this by assigning them trainers but they can also consult their physical therapists.
- Poor exercise programs
Not everyone can undertake all kinds of exercises. For instance, people with long thigh bones will find it hard to effectively do squats. Also, people with poor hip and upper back mobility will find it hard to deadlift without harming their back. In that case, you might want to encourage them to deadlift from a slightly raised position thus making the exercise much safer.
Vary your clients’ training programs. Apart from yoga or weightlifting, encourage them to participate in other activities such as water aerobics, dancing or even regular sports. This not only prevents boredom but also gives them a chance to work out other muscle groups and gives their bodies a chance to recover between workouts.
- Too much weight
If any of your gym members have to heave or jerk when lifting a weight or if they cannot control it on its loading or downward trajectory, then it’s too much. Encourage everyone to lift weights within their physical capabilities.
- Inadequate or lack of warm-up and not stretching
When it comes to exercising, progression is key. Warm-ups are low-intensity but quick-paced exercises that are meant to increase the flow of blood to the body muscles. Such exercises are also meant to decrease the blood’s viscosity thus promoting the mobility and flexibility of the involved muscles.
Performing stretches after warming up as well as after exercising helps elongate and relax the muscles thus reducing the chances of an injury or pain.
- Wrong training gear
As mentioned, your clients need to be sensitized on the need to wear comfortable shoes complete with arch support and cushioned heel. Their clothes also need to non-restrictive and breathable.
- Not knowing when to stop
Encourage your clients not to wait until it hurts to stop exercising. Let them stop when it starts getting uncomfortable. Remind them of the need to seek medical advice should the pain persist or worsen.
Exercise prevention: What gym owners should know
When it comes to preventing injuries in your training facility, you need to pay attention to three main areas: education, the environment and equipment.
Not only should gym owners educate their clients on the appropriate exercising techniques, but they should also ensure that the trainers and instructors are well trained. At no time should an instructor or trainer operate beyond their scope of expertise. The staff also need to undergo continuous training especially if you introduce new equipment or training techniques in your facility. Your staff also need to learn how they will manage their clients’ expectations, most of which are often unrealistic.
The environment refers to how well the facility is set up. The equipment needs to be laid out in a way that there will be no ventilation or overcrowding issues. The ground also needs to be even and dry. Clients should be made aware of hazards that could arise from leaving their bags or weights around.
When it comes to the equipment you use in your facility, ensure that it is properly maintained. Get rid of any faulty equipment immediately. Also, make sure you clean or wipe down gym equipment after every use.
Using Induct for Work to Educate Gym Members and Instructors
If nothing else, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for businesses to embrace technology. Luckily, Induct for Work ensures that you do not have to figure everything out on your own. Use templates that are customized for the fitness industry to provide training to your gym members and staff. Using Induct for Work, you can create virtual workout programs and customized classes that will be a source of recurring revenue in the future.
Induct for Work features a user-friendly and intuitive interface. By migrating your facility’s staff and client training online, you will be able to access persons that might not be able to access your facility. You can also make potential clients aware of proper exercise techniques and your facility’s policies and procedures long before they set foot on your premises.
What does Induct for Work offer?
- Customizsable templates that will reflect your facility’s brand
- Video Courses that your staff and customers can watch at any time
- Certification programs for your staff and clients
- Employee screening and background checking
- Collection of pertinent documents such as work permits and contractor licenses
- Upgrades to existing training content, and so on
When using Induct for Work, you will be able to classify your facility’s induction content into different groups. For example, you can develop different safety training programs for groups or individual members. There are templates available that would allow for rapid inductions training.
Induct For Work also captures pertinent details such as records of engagement dates, the inductees’ acknowledgement of safety policies and procedures and assessment scores. This makes it easy to prove your facility’s compliance.
The fitness industry is highly interactive. Through Induct for Work, you can ensure that your clients and staff retain the information you need them to through the use of visuals and audios.
Still not sure? Sign up for our 14-day free trial without having to fill in your credit card details. Rather than forcing you out of our system once the 14 days are over, you will be automatically transitioned to our Forever Free ‘Standard’ Plan.
You can upgrade to our bespoke ‘Premium + and Ultra’ packages once you feel comfortable with using our system.