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Gym etiquette can make the workout experience better for all

Amanda Oppenheim
Amanda Oppenheim

Whether spoken or unspoken, every gym has a similar set of rules and etiquette. In order for things to run smoothly, equipment to be well maintained and everyone to get through their workout efficiently, the simple rules should be followed. I can't tell you how frustrating it is when gym members fail to do what they should out of consideration and respect for others. Keep these guidelines in mind the next time you go to the gym, as they are important for a positive workout community:

Re-rack weights. When you're finished with a piece of equipment, just place it where it belongs. This simple task lets others use that equipment, opens up beloved space and saves unnecessary cleanup for the people who work at the gym.

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Don't put your belongings on a piece of equipment that you're not using. I see this all too often. Someone places their water, towel or keys on an open bench or other equipment while they do something else nearby. Someone else looking to use the equipment is left awkwardly confused because the piece seems to be in use but no one is around.

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Try not to walk in front of someone using a mirror. Gyms have mirrors for form and safety reasons, so it's best to let someone using it do their thing. Sometimes, there is no way around it when you're trying to get to a specific area or piece of equipment, but whenever possible, just walk around.

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PLEASE don't sit on a machine and play on your phone. Whether you're sending a novel or a text message, scrolling social media or reading columns on the Internet, just get off the equipment. Someone might be waiting to use the equipment you're sitting on.

Clean up after yourself. Most gyms provide some type of cleaner to wipe down machines after use, so be sure to take advantage of it, as it is there for a reason. Everyone at the gym would like to keep down potential germs; also cleaning up sweat is nice. Some people sweat a lot, and that's OK, but no one wants to use disgusting gym equipment.

Don't hog equipment. All gyms, large or small, only have so much equipment, so sharing is caring. There is nothing wrong with working out with someone or allowing a gym colleague to work out with you. Who knows, you might make a friend!

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Don't slam weights. First and foremost, this is super dangerous. Slamming weights is unpredictable and can easily lead to someone getting hurt, including yourself. If you plan on lifting heavy and aren't sure if you can safely place your weight(s) down, just ask someone to spot you. More often than not, people in the gym community are super nice and are willing to give anyone a spot when needed. Besides, most gym equipment is incredibly expensive and difficult to replace when broken.

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At the end of the day, we should be considerate and respectful of items that we use anywhere, especially if it is shared. Take good care of the equipment that you use at your gym. Chances are someone else plans on using the equimpment right after you and would like to find it the same way you found it. In addition to respecting equipment, treat others the way you want to be treated, just like our moms taught us. Too many people either disregard or just don't know about these simple rules, but they make a world of difference for all gym-goers when they are followed by everyone.

Amanda Oppenheim is a graduate of Stevenson University and can be reached at amandaoppenheim15@gmail.com.



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