Group exercise studios are highly used areas in most facilities due to the variety of classes offered by health clubs. From the high use generally comes heavy wear and tear on the floors, equipment and accessories. Management should inspect these items daily and weekly for damage.
LAYOUT & MAINTENANCE
Generally a group exercise studio is an open room with a stage in front for the instructor. Floor surfaces include carpet, wood and rubber. Some studios have building structure columns located around the floor. If your facility has columns on the floor then they need to be padded in the event a client collides with one during a class. Wood floors are sometimes elevated causing a potential trip hazard when entering and exiting the floor. Management should install angled edges to the floor to reduce the chance of tripping and falling or place safety tape at the entrance to alert clients of the change in elevation. Maintenance staff needs to clean the studio floors daily.
Health clubs that offer cycling classes need to pay special attention to the maintenance of their cycling bikes. Cycling classes are intense and cause some clients to sweat heavily. Sweat can be very hard on metal components on the cycling bikes. Maintenance schedules must be used in the upkeep of cycling bikes to reduce excessive wear and tear and parts corrosion from sweat. Cycling instructors should also ask class participants to wipe down their bikes after the class is over.
Another popular class is BodyPump or Body Sculpting. Clients use barbells and weight plates in this class. Because of the high use of the equipment in these type classes, maintenance staff should check the bars, collars and plates weekly to look for damage.
Aerobic step classes are still very popular and heavily used by clients. All steps, rubber bands, etc. should be inspected weekly to look for damage. Damaged steps should be replaced immediately. Step bases should have the non-slip rubber checked regularly for wear. Rubber bands should be inspected for cracking or tears and replaced immediately.
MARTIAL ARTS STUDIOS
Much like group exercise studios in health clubs, martial arts facilities have open floor areas for classes. Additionally, martial arts studios provide training equipment such as hand pads, head gear, etc. to their clients.
Cleaning Practices: There are several different bacteria and viruses that can be contracted while training in martial arts, and the ever infamous staph infection is just one of them. So it's important to ask how often a martial arts school cleans their mats and facilities when looking for a safe school for your child. Also, remember that sweeping the mat is simply not enough. Those mats should be cleaned on a daily or close to daily basis with a disinfectant strong enough to kill bacteria.
Equipment: When sparring is being executed in the class, are the children using safety equipment? Some things you should look for are gloves, mouthpieces, headgear, rash guards, and shin pads, depending on the type of school and what’s going on in class that day. Also, don’t forget to check out the floor. Is it matted? If there is any level of grappling, it should be.
Parent Section: This part is simple. If a parent wants to watch their child train in martial arts, they should be able to. If a school doesn’t allow parents to watch from a comfortable area, turn tail and leave.
Ask About Sparring and Contact: Some contact in sparring is not necessarily a bad thing. But you don't want children, particularly young ones, to be striking full go to the face. Ask the instructor about the amount of contact that your child will be involved in during class so you can gauge if you're comfortable with it. Also, when it comes to submissions and young children, the instructors should be watching closely enough to call a halt to the action when a submission is employed, rather than waiting for a tap out. Children's joints should not be strained to a great extent.
Ask About Verbal Self Defense Education: Don’t forget that the best way to deal with a confrontation is to do so verbally. Therefore, asking if the school teaches its students how to deal with bullies and problems from a verbal and cerebral end is a good question. Physical contact should always be avoided when possible.