And they can be not just bad for health, they can damage your wealth, and perhaps most importantly your confidence.
To clarify, your gym is not purposely trying to injure you, and not all gyms are trying to rip you off (especially Council-run gyms which are superb value for money). But let me tell you, a few of them are hurting you.
The Invisible member
It’s long been a suspicion of mine that a gym’s favourite member-type is the one who signs up for a whole year, or a rolling membership, and then never ever shows up. You’ve got to swipe your membership card every time you enter the facilities, right? So why, when you haven’t been for three months, aren’t they contacting you to ask if something’s wrong?
I know someone who joined a gym which had identified this member as having an unusually high heart rate. After one week, he failed to show up, but continued paying membership by Direct Debit for more than a year. No-one phoned, or came round to check if there were milk bottles gathering outside the door.
Repetitive strain injury
The same syndicated class (and the same music), day after day after day, for a block of six weeks. “I’ve got a pain developing in my shoulder”. Now you know why.
Ignorance is bliss!
You join, they give you a basic routine, and for many folks you’re on your own, & too self-conscious to try a new machine without instruction. And you’re on your own for as long as it takes YOU to ask THEM to change your routine. For for some people that’s not often, and not healthy.
Sure, you could flag down a floor-walker (gym instructor) for help, but many of them aren’t keen to give you time. For some reason they have a pressing engagement, or a burning desire to sign you up for a block of personal training sessions. And that’s because some gyms discourage interaction with members unless they are being actively ‘up-sold’.
Injury through neglect
Perhaps the worst form of repetitive injury is neglect. I have watched so many gym members straining themselves on Smith machines, or badly balanced on various bit of equipment. & doing all measure of damage to themselves. Completely ignored by the professionally-trained, qualified experts who are supposed to be there to help them! But don’t worry, when you’ve finally put your back out, maybe they can recommend a physiotherapist.
Everything with a pinch of salt
Let’s not forget a little perspective. There are amazing gyms and good instructors. I am a card-carrying gym member and will not be tearing up my membership. I am not a health & fitness expert, so what do I know?