The American workplace is not exactly the safest place to be these days. We are either sedentary desk jockeys who hear almost daily that sitting is the new smoking, or we are laboring, lifting, twisting, and performing repetitive tasks, all of which can lead to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). How can you prepare the occupational athletes among your clientele to work safely and to avoid injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff disorders and back

This month, author Rosemary Lindle, PhD, shows us the way. She reports that aside from the quality-of-life issues for those who are hurt, these injuries come at a huge economic cost. “In 2012 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 388,000 cases of WMSDs that required days off work, a figure that represented 34% of all lost work days,” she reports. “It is estimated that employers spend as much as $20 billion per year on workers’ compensation claims directly related to WMSDs and up to five times that amount ($100 billion per year) on indirect costs associated with hiring and training replacement workers. In addition to these monetary effects, WMSDs cause substantial pain and suffering to injured employees, who may no longer be able to work or perform basic activities of daily living. While WMSDs are a significant and costly health issue, the good news is that most of them are preventable.” Fitness professionals can help; and this excellent CEC article explains how. As you read, consider also whether this could be a new business niche for you to pursue.

The other feature in this issue is equally interesting and thought-provoking. It presents unique business positioning for personal trainers who extol the virtues of training with minimal equipment to meet the demands of life’s obstacle course—unique because this model involves literally prepping clients for obstacle races. In “Thinking Outside the Gym Box,” Ryan Halvorson explores how back-to-basics training is invigorating a rising fitness trend.

“Obstacle course-themed events like Tough Mudder® and Spartan Race®—and even the popular television show American Ninja Warrior—have inspired the development of event-specific gyms,” Halvorson writes. “These events and programs have also motivated the owners of existing facilities to retrofit with obstacles to capture their clients’ increased interest in this type of training. And it’s working. The result is greater participation and healthier finances.”

Read on to learn why these gym owners and trainers believe this is the new wave of fitness. They’ll also advise you on how to capture the attention of this growing population of movement enthusiasts.