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Working at a fitness center can be a fun and healthful job if you know how to play it safe. Like many workplace environments, fitness centers come with their share of risks. Filled with heavy equipment and large machines, they can pose threats to the employees who are responsible for their daily upkeep. By learning about the dangers and how to work around them, however, you can enjoy an injury-free fitness center career and continue to lead members into lives of health and wellness.
The large pieces of equipment create the biggest safety hazards at fitness centers. If cables snap, handles break or cardio machines malfunction, it will happen while someone is using them -- either a trainer or a gym member. When machines break, the person performing the workout or demonstrating the exercise will be at great risk for injury. In order to help avoid these incidents, fitness center employees must regularly inspect each lifting and cardio machine and make sure it receives regular maintenance.
Fitness center employees must be aware of the safety hazards associated with lifting heavy weights. Whether they are demonstrating an exercise for a client, spotting a competitor in training, reracking plates or performing personal workouts, they must be careful not to lift more than they can safely handle. And, when lifting, they must use proper technique and form to avoid muscle strains, pulls or tears.
Fitness center personal trainers are particularly prone to overtraining injuries. Because they spend their days demonstrating exercises for clients and working out themselves, they can overtax their bodies and suffer a variety of injuries to muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. Many trainers also feel internal pressure to maintain a certain physical appearance, which can also lead them to overtrain. To avoid overtraining and keep a healthy workout routine, trainers should follow exercise and nutrition plans created by other fitness professionals and schedule regular appointments with their doctors.
Along with the risks associated with weights and workouts, there are also common workplace dangers involving cleaning supplies and tasks. While cleaning the facility and its equipment fitness center employees must use caution when applying chemicals and sanitizing products. It may be necessary to use gloves or other protective equipment to avoid harm. Other common workplace safety rules, such as posting "Wet Floor" signs must also be followed to maintain a safe and productive environment.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.