In addition to signing a waiver prior to participating in group exercise classes at your facility, members need to be kept safe through the constant vigilance of your instructors. Terri Arends, the group fitness director at the JCC of Dallas, has several tips to share on ensuring safety for all participating in group fitness.
According to Arends, fitness class safety starts with the introduction. “There’s always that introduction before a class starts, which is a really good way to set a tone for a class and then be sure to follow up, constantly,” she said.
During this introduction, she suggests asking questions like, “Is anyone new? Is anyone pregnant? Is anyone injured? Is there anything I need to know about?”
Additionally, in the introduction, in the case of a member needing to be corrected for their safety, Arends also suggested addressing it ahead of time. “Say things like, ‘I’m going to come around and provide feedback, positive and potential alignment corrections,’” she said. “I’ll also say, ‘Let me know right now if you would not like for me to manipulate your body or touch you in order to re-route your positioning.’ It’s good they ask that out front so they’ll know who is cool with that and who isn’t.”
- Ask participants to arrive on time and allow the instructor to limit late arrivals.
- Suggest new participants arrive early to obtain tips from the instructor.
- Prohibit cell phones and request keeping conversations to a minimal.
- Require participant to keep belongings in their locker.
- Allow water bottles only — no open containers.
- Discourage heavy scents and perfumes.
- Suggest proper workout clothing and footgear appropriate for class.
- Do not permit children in the studio while class is in session.
- Require fans to be on during all classes to circulate air flow.
- Constantly remind participants to be mindful of their surroundings and others.
“It’s really important the instructor does a good job of looking out and being mindful of all the safety issues, because you want to keep your members healthy and coming back,” said Arends. “It’s one more layer the instructor needs to be mindful of and it’s really an important one for safety.”