IT SOUNDS LIKE A GRISLY HORROR MOVIE—a woman loses a finger while exercising on a treadmill in her apartment complex and a repairman must remove the severed digit from the machine. Unfortunately, this accident isn't fiction—it happened to Mike Berger, president of BodyWorks Fitness Equipment, an Austin, Texas-based distributor of commercial-grade fitness equipment. And it's one of the reasons he tells his multifamily clients to put safety first when selecting and designing fitness centers.
Smart owners and managers reduce their financial liabilities by choosing fitness equipment that is safe for all users—regardless of age, height, fitness level, or mobility, Berger says.
Choosing fitness equipment with safety features such as side steps, extended handrails, safety monitors, and clear instructions is even more important for properties with a large number of older residents, says Courtney Sorrels, a product manager with St. Louis-based equipment manufacturer TRUE Fitness. “It's important that users feel comfortable and safe,” she notes. “If they don't feel good about using the machines, either they won't use them or they'll end up injuring themselves.” Sorrels says many new types of fitness equipment also are ergonomically designed for better comfort. “I think designers and manufacturers are going to be even more focused on safety in the future,” she says.
1. SHOCK ABSORBER:
Life Fitness' Elevation Series includes the 95T treadmill with the DX 3 belt and deck system. This system combines a lubricant infused belt, Advanced Belt Tracking System, and a patented FlexDeck Shock Absorption System for durability and comfort. A stride sensor detects when a user leaves the machine and stops the belt after a brief delay. For more information, call Life Fitness at 800-634-8637 or visit http://us.commercial.lifefitness.com.
2. NO DUMBBELLS NEEDED:
Paramount Fitness Corp.'s compact PFT-200A has dual weight stack and compact crossover cables for a variety of exercises. It features a 39-by-64-inch stored footprint; adjusts to 12 vertical and nine horizontal positions; and accommodates up to two users. The PFT-200A also allows users to train using different resistance levels for each arm. For more information, call Paramount Fitness at 323-721-2121 or visit www.paramountfitness.com.
3. CORE STRENGH:
Precor's Experience Strength series was designed with multifamily projects in mind. The 13-piece S-Line targets the upper body, lower body, and back/abdominal core and offers walk-in designs and fewer adjustments for inexperienced users. Experienced users appreciate the ergonomically correct biomechanics. For more information, call Precor at 800-786-8404 or visit www.precor.com.
4. EASY RIDER:
Getting on a bike can be awkward for some, so CYBEX International has introduced its 750R recumbent bike, which features a walk-through design that won't trip up users. With outstanding lumbar support and an adjustable seat, the bike also boasts three modes of resistance so everyone from a beginner to an advanced rider can get a great workout. For more information, call CYBEX International at 508-533-4300 or visit www.cybexintl.com.
5. STRETCH OUT:
TRUE Fitness' Pro Stretch is a self-contained stretching area that provides users a safe platform and eliminates floor-based stretching. It keeps users in an upright position with four points of contact for proper body alignment, stability, and safety. The Pro Stretch mimics real-life stretches and features 30 different exercises. For more information, call TRUE Fitness at 800-426-6570 or visit www.truefitness.com.