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DAVE STALKER
executive director, FIA
A
s a passionate
personal
advocate of
the FIA’s ‘more people,
more active, more
often’ philosophy, I
think the time has come to add a
new caveat – ‘more safely’.
If we want to encourage more
novices to exercise, then we must
also encourage them to do so in
a supervised environment where
safety is paramount and good
counsel is at hand.
Despite being a senior executive
of the FIA, I’m not suggesting that
the current operator model is the
only safe one. After all, we have
many members that are not facilities-
based – British Military Fitness and
Fit For Sport to name just two.
However, we must recognise the fact
PHIL RUMBELOW that exercising – whether it’s running
ceo, jubilee hall trust round the block or pushing/pulling
weights – has inherent dangers for
T
he Jubilee Hall Trust survey, 21 per cent of people those who are new to the activity,
has, through the expressed an interest in using or who are returning to a long-
Proactive network, the gyms if supervised sessions forgotten exercise regime. Would
been involved in the Outdoor were available, but only 9 per you encourage a non-swimmer to
Gym project in Camden. A cent if they were not. jump into a swimming pool just
partnership between the In addition, having a human because it’s available and free? No.
London Borough of Camden and the presence at the sites can help to So why is it OK to encourage an
Primary Care Trust, eight outdoor generally promote the gyms, improve inexperienced exerciser to leap onto
gyms were installed in public parks exercise adherence and discourage a piece of equipment on the way to
and open spaces in areas with the anti-social behaviour. Even a low level the shops, just because it’s there?
greatest health inequalities. of staffi ng enables some monitoring I believe the current REPs-
The gyms feature equipment that’s of take-up, including the collection of registered trainers programme has
manufactured to European safety demographic data of the users. This gone a long way to improving the
standards and is just as safe as the is often a key requirement to gain professionalism and the perception
kit used in children’s playgrounds. funding for such projects, and yet is of our sector, and to making it a
However, although the gyms are often overlooked. safer place for both experienced
designed to be used independently, To promote sustainability, the and inexperienced exercisers.
there are clear benefi ts to be gained Proactive Camden network will Moving towards unsupervised
from running supervised sessions. shortly be appointing 12 volunteer gyms will prove disastrous to
In the public consultation for the ‘physical activity ambassadors’ the reputation of our industry –
project, 38 per cent of people who from among local residents. The especially if litigious consumers
said they were interested in using ambassadors will be provided with start suing local authorities and/
the outdoor gyms said they would bespoke training to help them raise or suppliers for injuries sustained
be more likely to do so if supervision awareness of sport and physical despite the disclaimers displayed.
were provided. In a later street activity among communities and
survey, carried out by Leisure-net groups in Camden, and to encourage
Solutions as part of the HAFOS usage of the outdoor gyms. luke tuchscherer
healthclub@leisuremedia.com
march 2010 © cybertrek 2010 Read Health Club Management online 65
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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