For those of you, who like many of us, have decided to start the New Year full of resolve to shed those unwanted pounds gained over Christmas and to get fit by joining a gym or engaging a personal trainer, you may be well advised to approach this with a little caution.
You may be surprised to learn that the fitness industry is very largely unregulated, which means that there is no legislation to stop anyone, with or without any relevant qualifications, setting themselves up in business as a gym instructor or personal trainer. This in turn can lead to injury, sometimes quite serious, when would-be enthusiasts have been encouraged to exert themselves beyond their capability. Take my client Mr Stone for example. Mr Stone is an elderly gentleman with an extensive medical history of musculo-skeletal problems and kidney failure. Despite this, he was persuaded to part with a not inconsiderable amount of his savings to join a gym, and shortly thereafter sustained a nasty injury when exercising under the supervision of someone whom it later transpired possesses only the most basic knowledge of fitness, and certainly not the skills nor experience to deal with someone of my client’s age and medical problems.
Such is the concern that the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers are currently compiling evidence from members of cases arising of injuries sustained in the gym, with a view to bringing media attention to this issue.
If you are about to engage the services of a fitness instructor you would be well advised to verify first that he / she has the appropriate qualifications by checking with the Register of Exercise Professionals. The Register, although voluntary, aims to ensure all exercise professionals are suitably qualified; it currently has 28,000 members and is supported by the majority of employers in the fitness industry.