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Ready to Work Out at the Gym?February 14th, 2018 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice | 1
It is the stuff of urban legends. After too much turkey and too little exercise, you resolve to hit the gym in 2012. After all, it’ll cost you less than the price of your daily latté—if you work out three or four times a week. If. Besides, you can cancel anytime, right? Right?
Thus begins a nightmare. The contract’s fine print says you’re locked in for 12 or 18 months. Even if you move away—your gym has affiliates across North America. Even if you close your bank account or cancel your credit card—that puts you into debt collection territory.
Here’s how to avoid such a nightmare:
- Read your contract before signing. Look for a cancellation process and exit fee, if any.
- Sign up for a month-to-month membership. It costs a little more, but it's worth the flexibility.
- Pay the entire membership fee up front. In cash. Do not hand over your credit card or bank account information for automatic payments.
- Do not close your bank account or cancel your credit card. That puts you in default. It also gives some guy with a Bronx accent the right to harass you and ruin your credit rating.
If you’re still nervous, check out your local community centre or YMCA/YWCA, which have no locked-in contracts.
Before you jump on a treadmill or start pumping iron, though, make sure your body is ready.There’s no point working out every day in January, only to wind up injured by February. Start with the PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, pdf available here). It asks you seven simple questions about blood pressure, heart condition, chest pains, bone and joint problems, and dizziness to screen for potential risks.
If you’re new to exercise, or haven’t worked out in a while, hire a personal trainer. He or she will guide you through the PAR-Q to determine whether you need to see a doctor or physiotherapist before starting a new exercise program. A trainer can then design a routine you can stick to for the long term. Even a few sessions will help you maximize your health benefits and minimize your risk of injury.
Some other safety tips for the gym:
- Warm up. Do some light cardio – a brisk walk or some jumping jacks.
- Stretch. Slowly, never bouncing, never to the point of pain. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
- Drink. Before, during and after.
- Breathe. Exhale on exertion, inhale on relaxing.
- Lift weights slowly, in a fluid, controlled motion. Never jerk.
- Increase gradually — weights, speed, intensity.
- Clean equipment with disinfectant to prevent spread of germs. Wipe up any spills to prevent slipping.
- Clear clutter—weights, water bottles, towels, mats etc.—to prevent accidents.
OK, now you’re ready to hit the gym. Good luck!
Public warning: The VPD announced last week that a high-risk sexual offender is now residing in Vancouver. He poses a significant risk to boys under 16 and tends to befriend mothers. For full details, see VPD press release.
Author: Susanna Chu