Spring is upon us, and the warm sun and blue skies create a perfect backdrop for outdoor workouts. There is a long list of health benefits associated with being outside, like boosting immunity, mental health and brain function. Exercising in the great outdoors has even been shown to increase satisfaction with fitness programs, which has the potential to boost both your business and your clients’ fitness levels. With so many perks to outdoor exercise, you don’t want to miss out on taking your training sessions to a park, beach, trail or sidewalk.
Just remember to keep in mind that heading outdoors to train clients can bring some unique challenges. Here are four tips to ensure the safety and success of your outdoor workouts:
1. Check local laws and regulations
The idea of well-qualified fitness professionals conducting structured physical activity outdoors may not be a new one, but it is growing in popularity. Before starting an outdoor fitness class or boot camp you should check with your municipality to see which permits or licenses might be needed. Policies can vary by state, city and even between locations within the same city. If you work in an area with unclear permitting processes, reach out to your local city government before taking your business outdoors.
2. Be professional
As a fitness professional, it is important to make sure your NCCA-accredited fitness certification is up-to-date; you have completed the appropriate continuing education for the program you plan to offer; and that you meet the professional liability insurance requirements of the space’s governing body.
Communication also plays an important role in running a professional business. Be sure to create an open line of communication with the land owner by informing them of how and when you will be using the space. Additionally, you should have a communication system in place to notify your clients of any delays or cancellations—whether that is through an online schedule, social media, phone or email.
3. Be prepared
Safety is the most important aspect of any type of physical activity training, and taking workouts outdoors poses a few extra considerations. Once you have set a location, familiarize yourself with the space to locate any available medical and safety resources. Locate and eliminate any hazards or debris that may interfere with your program. It is also important to bring safety equipment with you, such as first aid kits, water and a cell phone.
4. Be respectful
When conducting outdoor exercise programs, you should always abide by the facility’s time and noise ordinances. You should respect the facility’s landscaping and fixtures by using exercise equipment that is portable, does not attach to trees or any other park fixtures and limits the wear and tear of the space and its resources. Remember to recognize and respect the rights of others using the facility—parks and public spaces are intended for the use and enjoyment of the entire community. As a best practice avoid crowding high traffic areas. When you’re finished conducting a class be sure to remove all equipment, garbage and debris that you and your clients may have left behind.
To learn more, check our best practices guidelines for professionally led physical activity on public lands.
ACE readies fitness professionals, health coaches and other wellness experts to contribute to the national response to the obesity epidemic and other chronic diseases. We are working to evolve the healthcare system so the professions we represent may become part of patient-centered care teams and help far more people become physically active and stay healthy. Find out more about ACE’s Advocacy efforts.