Prepare Your Gym for Flu Season

by Stephen Tharrett

November 09, 2012 // Category: Fitness Community

If you’ve managed to avoid all the ads for the flu shot this fall, I would be impressed – or you might be a hermit. We’re completely flooded with ads about the importance of the flu shot, but many people ignore the benefits, making controlling the spread of the flu virus in gyms very difficult.

Because the flu virus thrives in dense populations where people come into close contact with each other, the neighborhood gym becomes a natural breeding ground for the spread of the flu virus. Our industry is all about enhancing the overall well-being of our members, and the community at large, so it makes sense for fitness centers to take extra precautions when it comes to preparing for the flu season. 

Of course, a clean health club is also good for business. According the IHRSA Guide to Health Club Cleanliness, members who perceive their club as extremely clean are more likely to recommend their club to friends and family (83% would recommend compared to 54% if they perceive their health club to be unclean).

There are extra steps you can take to reduce the risk of a member or guest contracting the flu while they are in your club:

  • Consider partnering with a local healthcare agency to offer flu shots to your members. Open the service up to the community, and you might just get a few new members.
  • Keep surfaces such as counter tops, handrails on equipment, bench surfaces and any surface that a member is likely to touch clean and disinfected. Ideally you should have a system that insures the staff disinfects these surfaces a few times per day.
  • Provide easy opportunities for members to clean their hands after using machines, like disinfecting wipes or antibacterial lotion placed throughout the club. 
  • Make sure the soap in the locker rooms and restrooms is antibacterial.
  • Consider posting signs on your web site, Facebook page and in the club, encouraging members to wash their hands regularly after working out and requesting sick members stay home for the benefit of all.
  • Make sure your HVAC system is properly circulating air and that there is sufficient humidity. Extremely dry air promotes the spread of the virus.
  • Use this time to promote the importance of members consuming a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits supported by a multivitamin.

Have other tips? Share them in the comments below. 

 
Stephen Tharrett
 

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