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Exercise Safety

by Jeffrey Janot, PhD on Apr 01, 2004

Personal Training 101

Follow these exercise safety tips to minimize exercise-induced complications in your clients.

Clients who read about the occasional athlete who suffers from a fatal incident on the basketball court or football field, or the marathon runner who “blows out his knees,” may ask, is exercise really safe? The best answer to that question is, exercising is safer than remaining sedentary.

In fact overwhelming evidence from epidemiological data has identified numerous health benefits from exercise, including reduced blood pressure; lower percent body fat; and fewer risk factors for conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease and certain cancers.

Nevertheless, exercisers can occasionally suffer from complications ranging from minor injuries, such as muscle strains or skin wounds, to more serious problems, including acute cardiovascular events, hypoglycemia and severe musculoskeletal injury. Fitness facilities and individual personal fitness trainers (PFTs) should follow these exercise safety tips to minimize the risk of exercise-induced complications and ensure their clients’ safe participation in their exercise program.

Who Is at Risk?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 6th edition), the risks involved in exercise participation are extremely low for young men and women, but tend to increase slightly as participants age, and increase more when participants have known cardiovascular disease. The underlying conditions that can cause cardiovascular complications during exercise—such as a history of multiple heart attacks, chest pain (at rest or with exercise), and abnormal heart rhythms or blood pressure responses during exercise—are not ones most PFTs typically encounter in their clients. However you may have clients who neglect to perform an appropriate warm-up or cool-down, exercise at intensities that are too high for their fitness level, and/or participate in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking. If these clients also have underlying cardiovascular disease or significant risk factors for disease, exercise complications may be a concern. You should be mindful of these characteristics and monitor these types of clients very closely.

IDEA Personal Trainer, Volume 2005, Issue 4

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© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Jeffrey Janot, PhD

Jeffrey Janot, PhD IDEA Author/Presenter

Jeffrey M. Janot, PhD, EPC, is an assistant professor of kinesiology in the department of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC). He currently serves as the technical editor for IDEA Fitness Journal. Lance C. Dalleck, PhD, is an assistant professor in the kinesiology department at UWEC. His research interests include improving health outcomes through evidence-based practice; quantifying the energy expenditure of outdoor and nontraditional types of physical activity; and studying historical perspectives in health, fitness and exercise physiology.Timothy T. Bushman is an undergraduate student at UWEC, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology through the human performance program. His main interests lie in the fields of strength and conditioning and health promotion.