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Safety Considerations for Outdoor Exercise Classes

Over the past few years, boot camps and outdoor exercise classes have been gaining popularity. According to the “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2013,” published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (2012; 16 [6], 8–17), boot camps ranked number 16 in popularity for 2013. Outdoor activities also showed up in the top trends, ranking 13.

With days getting longer and temperatures rising, this is a great time of year to take clients and class participants outside. While boot camps and run clubs in the great outdoors can be fun and invigorating, however, they do present unique safety concerns.

Sue D’Alonzo, 30-year fitness industry veteran and owner of SueDFit Workout, a Berkeley, California–based boot camp company, shares her tips for keeping outdoor fitness enthusiasts safe:

  • Know the weather. Make sure participants are properly dressed at all times and are prepared for changes in weather.
  • Make it manageable. Keep classes small—about 10–12 participants per instructor. Participants should stay within eyesight at all times.
  • Maintain awareness. Instruct participants to be aware of their surroundings and watch out for cars, other pedestrians and animals.
  • Be safe. Be prepared for any situation; keep a first-aid kit and cell phone handy.
  • Lead the way. When going out on trails or courses, go first so you can change plans if the route becomes unsafe.
  • Stay visible. During early-morning and evening classes, encourage participants to wear reflective clothing. Be sure the area is properly lit, so participants are visible to others.

By Jessica Cline

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