Recently the SMH reported that some gyms are only fit for danger because they are not following the Fitness Australia guidelines.
“A survey of more than 1100 people working in the industry found more than a third of fitness centres failed to screen members to establish any pre-existing health problems.
This is despite a national screening system designed by Fitness Australia and introduced in 2012 in a bid to lift industry standards.
Known as the Australian adult pre-exercise screening system, the voluntary guidelines include assessing a gym member’s risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic or respiratory illness, and getting clearance from a health professional.
The survey was conducted by Caroline Finch, head of the centre for healthy and safe sport at Federation University in Melbourne, and colleagues from Bond University, the University of South Australia, Sports Medicine Australia and Fitness Australia.
It found almost a quarter of fitness centres were insufficiently aware of the safety guidelines.
”If you go to a gym where the people don’t know about the guidelines, you’re not going to get assessed before you start to exercise and they’re not going to tell you what’s safe for you,” Professor Finch said. ”Failing to follow these guidelines puts people at risk.”
The research, to be presented at the International Olympic Committee Sports Injury conference in Monaco on Friday, included analysing Victorian hospital admission data between 2002 and 2012 to identify the most common type of exercise to cause injury.
Shannon Gray from the Monash Injury Research Institute said of the 1979 people injured in fitness centres during that period, more than half were using motorised equipment such as treadmills or undertaking general gym work, 37 per cent were doing resistance training and 11 per cent were doing aerobic exercises.
Professor Finch said of more than 1100 people surveyed, 44 per cent said weights were often not put away, making them a hazard for gym users. Half the respondents reported gym members lifting weights that were too heavy for them.
Gyms, YMCAs and personal trainers had a duty of care to ensure the exercise people did reflected their ability, and that training programs took health issues into account.
Rick Mackie, sales manager at the family-owned Hiscoes gym in Surry Hills, said users were asked about their exercise history, health condition and medication, and the Fitness Australia screening guidelines were followed during the initial fitness assessment.
Members using weights were separated from other gym users to minimise the risk of injuries, he said, and staff monitored equipment to ensure it was properly used and stored.
”There are signs around the gym to make sure everyone knows what the etiquette is in putting weights away and using the equipment for its correct purpose.””