Why fitness centres can be bad for you

Fitness centres can be bad for your health, says a new report.

Glenda Cooper, Social Affairs Correspondent, investigates Consumers' Association claims that your pockets are not the only thing damaged by expensive fitness centres.

Leisure is big business these days as we all go for "the burn". A study by the Henley Centre think-tank predicted last year that the pounds 1bn sports services, health, fitness and leisure club sector will grow by 60 per cent over the next five years.

But the Consumers' Association claims today that some fitness centres are not coming up to scratch for the amount of money that we pay them. Its magazine Which? sent two under-cover fitness inspectors to four private clubs, four public leisure centres and two large hotels with fitness facilities for residents and local members.

The inspectors asked how much classes and membership was, noted how helpful staff were, examined the changing rooms and checked out the range and quality of equipment. Then they took part in one fitness class and a gym induction in each centre.

In their opinion the private clubs came out no better than the public ones and said that improvements could be made at all the places they visited.

Aerobic instruction was "poor" they claimed, with seven out of ten fitness classes taught in a "mechanical and impersonal manner, with little or no contact between the instructor and individual participants". Which? said that some instructors did not bother to find out whether there were newcomers to the class or correct the people who were doing exercises wrongly.

An aerobics class at the Sports Connexion Leisure Club in Coventry was said to be "potentially unsafe" because the instructor paid little regard to the participants' needs. Mike Taylor, director of Sports Connexion was very disappointed with what the Which? inspectors had said. "In my view this instructor is as safe as you can get. He is RSA qualified and teaches around the area. I really don't understand it," he said.

Instructors at Meadowside Leisure Centre at Burton-on-Trent, and the Spiceball Park Sports Centre in Banbury were also said to be poor.

Mark Thornewill, Meadowside's leisure contracts manager, said: "We looked at the report and accepted we could improve in certain areas. We have introduced an induction scheme for beginners and an independent appraisal system for our instructors which is to be ongoing."

Mark Bremner, operations director of DC Leisure which runs Spiceball Park, said that while they welcomed any audit they had found the report "too negative".

Helen Parker, editor of Which?, said: "The poor quality of aerobics class teaching we found is particularly worrying. We want to see the keep-fit industry doing more to ensure that instructors have standard, thorough and recognisable qualifications." However, the magazine said that its findings should not put people off exercising, but it urged people to choose their centre carefully.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments