Why manners matter when it comes to fitness etiquette
By: Mary Wanjiku Gichuhi
We are living in an image -conscious society and more people are going to the gym to tone up and keep in shape. The gym is our way to stay fit, a venue to meet new people and a place I call “me time” that is hard to garner anywhere else. It is a public place and a plethora of things to different people.
However, you can agree with me that we all know how to mind our manners at job interviews and fancy dinners but there’s something about the casual atmosphere of the gym that sometimes makes us forget. The same rules of etiquette are not just for tea parties but they apply everywhere even at the sweaty gym.
In my recent gym sessions I have observed that seemingly common sense unspoken rules and formalities of our exercise havens are being not only ignored in gyms nationwide, but virtually assaulted. This is not an attack on any one person: it is the opinion of a concerned gym attendee who wishes to work out in a less irritating environment. Even if you feel like you’re in your own little world when exercising, keep in mind that others are trying to use that space too.
Every gym goers has mastered the rules : clean up after yourself by always bringing a towel with you and using it, if you take something out, put it away, learn to share by not hogging the equipment for yourself, practice patience by not rushing others and be on time by observing the time limits for every cardio machines.
On the contrary, personal protocol rules that affect those around you have long been forgotten. The gym would be a more pleasant place for everyone if personal rules of conduct were respected. You have already amped up your push –up but it’s time to perfect your form on skills that we have overlooked at our gyms .It is just not the new year and resolution crowd that lacks etiquette because they may just not know better but even the experienced gym chronicles .
Exercising to music is motivating and fun. However, blasting your MP3 player at maximum volume is not. Keeping your private life private by turning off your phone while at the gym gives you the concentration needed to endure and perform. What about letting the trainer do his job? Offering unsolicited advice and correcting other people without permission will only increase the number of casualties subjected to injuries.
Tank tops, profuse sweating and mild grunting are accepted in almost all health clubs. But am not sure if torn, dirty clothing are. Though exercising will make you sweat and that can cause body odor, its considerate to wear good antiperspirant instead of strong sprays that will cause headaches and migraines to people with sensitive scents. Lastly, thank you for not spitting or disposing your used chewing gum at the water fountain. We have all been the victims and the culprits of these offenses but its time to stop. Be clean, honest and efficient during your workout session: it will make for a better experience we all can enjoy!
Mary is an MBA student at the University of Nairobi School of Business