Your customers are proactively taking care of their health and wellness by coming into your studio or gym — the last thing they (or you) want is an injury. However, accidental and unpredictable fitness injuries do happen. There is always a potential risk of injury during a workout since your clients are moving their bodies, revving up their heart rate and getting sweaty. While each client comes to your space with their own health history and limitations, there are some best practices you can put in place to help prevent unnecessary injuries at your fitness studio.
Ensure your studio and facilities are clean and safe
When you keep your studio tidy and uncluttered, you reduce the risk of preventable injuries. The last accident you need is to have your customers slipping, tripping over equipment or inhaling dirty air. Make sure all equipment is organized and tucked away where there is no risk of equipment falling on someone. Keep floors clean and dry in both the workout rooms as well as common areas, such as the reception area and the bathrooms. A few other ways to ensure your studio is safe include:
- Organize spacious rooms with a clear conservative max capacity — allocating enough workout space between people will prevent your clients from running into each other and also aligns with fire safety policy
- Allow for proper ventilation and airflow to control indoor air quality — this is especially important since your clients are inhaling more oxygen
- Secure ceiling fixtures such as fans and lights
- Install efficient lighting so your clients can see what is happening around them
Prioritize body awareness
Ensure instructors or front desk staff ask if anyone has injuries or physical conditions they need to address before class starts. Some people prefer not to address this out loud so it’s recommended to have a way for your clients to come talk to you privately. Some types of booking software allow you to add notes or alerts to client profiles for tracking.
Your staff can also encourage clients to listen to their bodies and provide them with a safe space where they feel open to taking a break whenever they need or make necessary modifications. Instructors should provide guidance on the proper workout postures and watch that participants are using the proper technique, especially if for those brand new to class.
Injury and first aid training
Your staff should be well prepared to address any type of fitness injury and take the proper steps in seeking care needed. It is recommended to provide staff training that includes what instructors should do in specific medical emergencies. Consider requiring that each instructor have their CPR and AED certification with a live skills check periodically. Your fitness instructors should be able to help your clients with workout modifications based on current injuries.
Health of fitness equipment matters
If you offer classes that use machines or heavy equipment, such as treadmills or Pilates reformers, make sure you are regularly checking the equipment for any type of repairs or defects. It is also important to clearly explain how your clients should be setting up and using the fitness equipment, if not under the supervision of a qualified teacher. You can even use visual infographics to clearly show them the proper machine setup, body positioning and how to customize and align with their bodies.
Reinforce the proper workout gear
Many injuries come from not wearing the proper shoes or clothing needed to actively move around during exercising. Post the necessary gear requirements on your class preparation guidelines both online and in your studio. If someone is not dressed properly for their workout, consider having gear handy to rent or purchase so they don’t miss their class.
Water should always be available to your clients and your staff should reinforce proactive hydration. If you offer heated workouts, cardio or HIIT classes, you could also keep electrolyte packets nearby to reassure your clients will stay energized and hydrated their entire workout. You can sell water bottles, or you can offer filtered water for reusable bottles which is an effective eco-friendly practice. (link to environmentally friendly blog)
Lead a warm up and cool down
Stretching and gradual movement is really important and recommended to start and end your classes. A warm up helps your clients by gradually boosting their heart rate and circulation, increasing blood flow to the muscles which helps prep the muscles for movement. If the muscles are too cold or tight it can increase the risk of an injury during class. Cool downs are helpful because they reduce heart and breathing rates and gradually cool body temperature, which can prevent dizziness or fainting.
Keep a medical kit on site
In case of a medical emergency, it is highly recommended to have a first aid kit at your studio. When you have the proper medical devices and remedies, you can alleviate symptoms and prevent the injury from getting worse. In case of cardiac emergencies, having an AED makes it possible to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. Other medical items you should keep handy include bandages, athletic tape, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, slings and instant ice packs.
Your studio members want to avoid injuries just as much as you. Although there is no way to completely avoid unpredictable fitness injuries, these top recommendations can help you prevent unnecessary injuries at your studio.