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Making The Most Of Outdoor Fitness

Adding outdoor activities to your fitness programming can effectively increase the overall health and well-being of your clients. Use these tips to find the right partners to meet your goals and to keep your clients safe while enjoying the great outdoors.

Risk Management

Preparation. Mother nature is ultimately in charge in the outdoors. Minimize risk with an operation plan that addresses the following:

Skill level. Safety is the number-one factor when choosing an activity. Use health history questionnaires to determine if clients should avoid a particular pursuit.

Gear. Being prepared with the proper clothing, gear and hydration is critical for optimum physical performance and safety. Create a required-gear list for clients, and check to make sure they have everything before you leave.

Credentials. Government agencies regulate the outdoor industry and require extensive proof of qualifications before you can lead commercial outings on public land. Permit requirements may include the following:

  • current sport-specific instructor certification
  • detailed operation plan
  • proof of registration as a state-licensed outfitter and guide
  • certification in wilderness first aid

First aid. A CPR certification alone is insufficient in the outdoors. Take a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course or a 7-day Wilderness First Responder course.

Liability. Fitness insurance policies don’t cover outdoor activities beyond day hikes. If you plan to lead outdoor events yourself, find a broker with specialized policies.

Waivers. Clients should sign a participant agreement, release and assumption-of-risk form. Consult with an attorney to protect your business to the fullest.

How To Partner With The Outdoor Industry

Don’t let all the risk management requirements stop you from accompanying clients on fun outdoor activities. Stay true to your fitness focus by partnering with licensed outfitters and guides or tour operators to run an outdoor excursion for you. Consider the following options:

Become a pied piper. Look for a tour operator who will work with you to create a profitable business partnership. For example, in exchange for bringing 10 guests on a cycling trip, the tour operator may agree to offer the 11th seat to the trip leader at a discounted rate.

Select The Right Partners

Think local. Visit the official travel and tourism webpage for your state to find a detailed listing of licensed outfitters and guides.

Take a trip. Search the web for tour operators, hoteliers and travel agents who specialize in the sport and regions that interest you.

Work with a hotel. Look for hotel sales managers who will offer a discounted room-and-meal package to groups. As the trip leader, you will be responsible for marketing the trip and collecting the money.

To view the full article that ran in the May 2014 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal click here.

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