By Janet Adetu
The new craze for being and staying healthy has become a bug. Whether your staying healthy is by going to the gym regularly, watching what you eat or managing a healthy lifestyle, it has become a must for everyone. In a bid to portray success you find yourself juggling so many things all at the same time, where multi-tasking has become a talent and an art for the savvy person. When doing this you find that it is so easy to forget your codes of conduct, respect and consideration for others. Then what do you think happens? Eventually you end up throwing your very own posture, polish and presence out of the window. How do you think you fare in the gym, at the spa, on the tennis court or even on the golf course?
I have highlighted below some steps to consider as best etiquette strategies for being a healthy person in these public health places: the gym. This article is divided into three parts 1 – 3 for easy reading.
Don’t take these public places for granted, it speaks to the kind of person you are and the image you ultimately create that is unique to you and you alone. Not so many people can find the precious time to spend at the gym, for many reasons be it because of school runs, work distance, resumption time, proximity to the gym and the inability to create the time.
Does that sound familiar to you?
For those who have taken the bold step of discipline to ensure that at least once a week they try to attend an aerobics class or a Zumba class or for mere exercising the following effective guidelines will assist you in being and behaving at your best.
- Towel Yours or Their’s
I have discovered that not everyone brings a towel along to the gym, maybe they feel they don’t sweat much therefore see no need for it. It is important that in preparing for the gym you take your personal towel and preferably your own bottle of water. Some gyms provide that service of fresh towels but this is not common in private gyms, you are likely to see this more within the hotel gyms. If towels are provided ensure you take one for your personal usage. Once you use a towel remember to dispose of it by throwing it into the used towels basket. Never leave them on equipment or lying on the floor. If it is your personal towel keep all your belongings to yourself.
- Sweat Attack
I personally prefer gyms that are air conditioner free, that way one is not breathing in artificial air. When windows are open there is an avenue for body heat to travel out properly and fresh air to come in. A good workout involves a raised pulse and heart rate, during exercise you are bound to sweat, this is a good sign because it shows your exercise routine is working on you. Some people however do sweat extra profusely and at times it may not be a very pleasant sight especially if you can see bowls of sweat all over the machine. Wipe your sweat regularly while exercising, this is for your own personal hygiene. Remember your manners when you have finished using any equipment, it is always important that you spend a few extra seconds wiping down sweaty areas of the equipment you just used. Some people don’t mind using their towels, but a good gym would provide disposable tissues with a spray sanitizer. They are usually placed in many parts of the gym; I recommend you spray your equipment before wiping it down. Doing this in the presence of others will earn you more respect.
- Dominating your favourite Machine
Some people find that they are more comfortable on a specific machine and therefore won’t bother to try anything else. For instance, the treadmill is a favourite for many especially for walking, it can be stress free, others may be quite comfortable on the bicycle. Whichever the machine be careful how you hug on to it too much. Since it is not your personal equipment, timing your usage must be done with consideration for other users. Most gyms that are generally busy during peak hours will peg the usage time at 20 minutes maximum per user. If you see this notification it is only polite to adhere to the rules of the gym.
- Mats, Steps & Weights Use and Replace
My favourite gym time is when I am in an aerobics class that involves everything from dance aerobics to body basics, step aerobics and abdominal exercises. In the course of the class there is always a need to bring out the steps and mats for the final cooling down exercises. It really beats me when the class is over and some women simply leave their steps and mats for someone else to clear. The etiquette of using the gym is to have respect, kindness and consideration for all those around you. Apart from these items being a hazard left on the floor it is inappropriate not to place them back to where they were obtained from.
- Cell Phone Phobia
It is interesting when you see a lot of people attached to their phones almost expecting it ring every minute. I know for those of us with small children it may be difficult sometimes as you have to constantly be on the alert. The truth is if you miss a call or a text or even a message surely life still goes on, it is simply not a do or die affair if you do not or cannot respond immediately. When you decide to engage in healthy exercise for the day consider this what I call me time. Entertain no interruptions until you are completely done, trust me others will eventually know when the best time to call you would be.
The other day I was in the gym, a young lady on the next cross trainer received a loud phone call, she allowed her phone to ring for longer than necessary considering where she was, this was a huge disturbance. Before we knew it her hello was so loud, we all automatically turned in her direction. Not minding any of us or the privacy of her conversation she maintained her loud tone of voice throughout till she completed the call. Now that was quite unruly with so much disregard for fellow gym users.
To avoid damaging your image I suggest that for security purposes keep your phone intact and out of sight, it is not unusual for phones to go missing in gyms.
Watch out for Part 2.