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Why would it be useful for a health club? This is a great way to help the fitness industry move closer to the medical sector, because both professions can read the data and it provides objective analysis. GPs could safely refer on to clubs – the system tells you how strong a patient is, so you know their capabilities and can give them an appropriate, safe workout programme. All members could be tested every six to eight weeks, so


people can track their improvements. This would help the professionalism of the industry, because people do like to see how they’re getting on (see also HCM March 11, p50). Clubs could also create their own database of members to get an idea about similarities in profi le – developing a typical profi le for a 45-year-old female member, for example – to help ensure the right services and programming are in place. There isn’t really anything else available to measure strength,


and this system is inexpensive – it only costs £6,000 – and it’s also really easy to use.


What training is needed to use it? The training is really easy. It’s done at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital and takes a day to learn the set-up positions. The software has been made very simple, all features are automatically saved, and anything accidentally deleted can be recovered from the hard drive. It also tells you if you’re not using it properly.


What challenges did you face? Do you have a couple of weeks?! It’s taken 10 years to develop and has been very challenging. Several times I thought I


Clubs could structure their time into segments – a back morning, a leg afternoon – so it runs like a rehabilitation gym


couldn’t carry on. It took a lot of doggedness and persistence. Funding was an issue too: people don’t want to know in the early days, but when it starts showing positive signs, they all want to put funds in.


What’s the best way to integrate fitness and physiotherapy in a normal health club? The best thing is co-ordination and you get that through working groups, seminars and representatives, so everyone can then sing from the same song sheet. But it shouldn’t be dominated by one of those professions – it needs to be a joint project, with mutual respect and understanding. If you have systems of analysis that you can both understand, then you have a common feature to work from. I think clubs need to structure their time into segments – for


example, a back morning, a leg afternoon – so it runs like a rehabilitation gym. Bring in specialists from the healthcare side, create specialist groups and get input from specialists in order to build up templates that everyone can work from. I believe it’s waiting to happen. The fi tness industry working in collaboration with healthcare could work really well.


healthclub@leisuremedia.com kath hudson


The system measures strength and endurance – how quickly a muscle fatigues – and picks up imbalances


april 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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