Exercise common courtesy at fitness center

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelley J. Stewart
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
I remember growing up and watching Andy Rooney's commentaries on "60 Minutes." He had a lot to say about people, places and things, and most of his commentaries resonated with the American public.

Well, I'm no Andy Rooney, but I have something I'd like to talk about -- common courtesy in the fitness center.

I freely admit I'm not a spring chicken, but I do like to hit the fitness center for a good workout. Not only does working out help me pass my physical-training test, it helps me control my stress. However, I am finding the lack of common courtesy by some people who use the gym is negatively affecting my stress levels.

What could someone do that could increase stress levels in the gym? Well, not removing the weights from the machines in the weight room is one. Without fail, someone leaves 100-pound weights on the leg-press machine.

I like to think I'm a strong person, but I cannot lift those weights off the machine. I hurt my back on my last deployment, and I cannot lift the weights off for fear of hurting my back more. That means I have to interrupt someone else's workout and ask for help so I can use the equipment. So far, everyone one I've asked has been very helpful and removed the weights.

There are signs in the weight room that ask users to put the weights back on the rack when done. Granted, the signs are on the small size, but still. People just need to be courteous, because no one knows what the person behind them is physically capable of doing.

Another thing that increases stress levels is breaking the equipment. Someone must have felt they were the Incredible Hulk on the Nautilus lat pull-down machine. The pin was stuck in the weights at 245 pounds, and the pin couldn't be removed. A fitness center staff member tried to remove the pin, but it wouldn't come out.

It took about 15 minutes and three people to pull the pin out of the machine's weights, and the pin had to be bent so it could be removed meaning the machine couldn't be used until a new pin was put in it. Everyone working to remove it agreed the person using the machine had probably dropped the weights because they were too heavy, and the pin got stuck.

The good thing about this situation is it didn't take too long to fix. However, depending on the damage done, it can take days, weeks or months to fix these machines and people are out of luck.

Having a fitness center with all the equipment ours has is great. I, and many others, have been deployed to locations that don't have a fitness center, let alone fitness equipment. That is why I am courteous to those who use the gym here.

I'm not sure what Andy Rooney would say about displaying common courtesy in the fitness center. He'd probably be much crankier and funnier about the situation. I just hope that patrons take these words to heart and start exercising some courtesy during their workouts.