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Gyms & Trainers: What to Look For
If you do some of your exercise in the gym, whether on your own, in group classes, or with a personal trainer, there are some simple precautions you can take to keep yourself safe:
Make sure the gym’s trainers and instructors have been trained and certified by a reputable, national certification agency, such as ACE, AFAA, ACSM or NSCA. They should also hold current CPR and first aid certifications, so they can take action if an emergency occurs.
Ask the gym staff about the emergency action plan (every gym should have one and the employees should know its details) and equipment they have on hand, such as a basic first aid kid and an AED (Automated external defibrillator).
Tell every personal trainer and fitness instructor who works with you about your limitations or medical conditions. Well-trained instructors should ask about this at the beginning of any group class or during your first session and be able to offer modifications.
If you don't understand the instructions given, or the proper way to do an exercise or use a piece of equipment, always ask first. Improper technique or body position is a major cause of injury.
Know Your Limits & Your Needs
A big part of exercise safety is prevention. Just as your car will run better when you service it regularly, your body will protect itself from injury when you give it the food, water, rest, and attention it needs to operate at its best.
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant.
See all of Dean's articles.
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