Wright: Fitness equipment maintenance
The Fitness Trail
Within the fitness industry, for all of us that are club owners, maintaining our fitness equipment is crucial to ensure safety and effective usage and to protect the longevity of the equipment. Heavy equipment such as multi-gyms and cardiovascular equipment, such as treadmills, are a huge financial investment and must be consistently maintained over time to prevent premature replacement and, of course, to keep the equipment safe and enjoyable for our clientele to use. If the equipment is consistently maintained, according to the manufacturer’s requirements, most high quality equipment will last for years.
Follow the guidelines highlighted below both to maintain your in-home heavy fitness equipment and your small fitness equipment. Not only is this the safest path to follow, it is the most economical! As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
• Heavy equipment, usually defined as equipment that is not easily portable and has a specific footprint and placement element, requires daily/weekly maintenance. Even if you are the only one using the equipment, the dust particles, sweat, oil from your skin, and bacteria begin to build up on the equipment. Specifically, the cables, pulleys and weight stacks on multi-gyms which ultimately leads to the weight plates sticking together and the cable/pulley mechanisms not sliding smoothly and safely. Again, follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance requirements precisely and, in most cases, you will enjoy a fully functional cable/pulley system.
• Treadmills and other cardiovascular equipment such as ellipticals, have enough moving parts, and many with lots of electronic bells and whistles, that it is important to have these maintained by a professional cardiovascular equipment technician. We only permit licensed technicians to repair our treadmills and other cardiovascular equipment. We do regularly clean and test our equipment according to the manufacturer’s requirements and the recommendations of our maintenance technician.
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• Indoor group exercise cycles are poorly maintained in many health clubs. Although essential, it is not adequate to have the riders just wipe down the bike with sanitary wipes after use. Our indoor group cycles are heavily used. Consequently, we specifically perform deep cleaning and maintenance weekly. This is the primary reason that the bikes remain in good working order. Additionally, if a bike has a repair required, it is immediately repaired or parts replaced. Even if you have an indoor group cycle at home and are the only one using it, take the time to maintain it so that it will operate optimally for you for years to come.
• Small equipment such as dumbbells, barbells (and the clamps that hold the plates), plates, resistive tubing, ropes, TRX Suspension Systems, agility ladders, medicine balls, plyo boxes, clubs, sandbags, hanging leg raise slings, etc. should be cleaned daily and maintained primarily through inspection. When inspecting, make certain that there are no issues with the equipment such as tears in tubing, degraded carabineers on TRX Suspension Systems, holes or breaches in clubs/sandbags and plyo boxes. If there is a breach, then in most cases these pieces of equipment either need to be replaced or repurposed if safe and useful to do so.
In short, if you maintain your equipment regularly, clean it after each use and store it safely, it will, when safely and effectively utilized, provide you with a plethora of fitness benefits for life.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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