Activity Increases Chances of Survival After First Heart Attack

Your members who have already had one heart attack should know that staying active can significantly lower their risk of death or a second heart attack. According to a study released in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, people who kept physically active after a first heart attack had a 60 percent lower risk of having a fatal heart attack or a second nonfatal heart attack than those who did not stay active. Read the rest of this entry »

Is There a Volunteer in the House? Part 3

Like any working relationship, there is always the potential for volunteer and managerial conflicts on a wide range of issues. Even with a well-planned recruitment process, some volunteers are not suited for a job in the service industry, or aren’t well-versed in the technical aspects of exercise instruction. Read the rest of this entry »

Is There a Volunteer in the House? Part 2

Intrinsic. There are other intangible or intrinsic reasons why members may volunteer. Many like the team atmosphere that is engendered and see it as an opportunity to meet new people, improve their self-confidence and develop new skills. Some also have the altruistic motivation of helping other people achieve their health and fitness goals ‹ a very satisfying and worthy motivation. Volunteers can be motivated for all of these reasons, as well as because they are doing something they enjoy and have fun doing it. This is a very important motivation that employers often neglect to foster. Management must ensure it is a fun experience for all involved.

Management support

Each member of the management team, including the club owner, fitness director, aerobics director and club manager, should show his or her support and appreciation to the volunteers. Teaching is often a very daunting task. Volunteers should be given patience and help along the way to allay their fears.

One of the most difficult aspects of an instructor’s role is handling difficult customers and situations. The management team should train volunteers to deal with these problems. Volunteers should be aware that criticism, sometimes constructive, and at times very harsh, is part of the deal. You can hold yearly retreats and regular workshops to discuss issues such as this one.

Open communication is essential, either through group or individual meetings, email messages, memos, etc. The management team should be easily accessible and open to ideas and suggestions from the volunteers. Also, management, particularly the person ultimately responsible for the volunteer program, should be able to give open and honest feedback to the volunteers. Sometimes this will not be an easy task, especially in cases where a volunteer’s skills are lacking. Regular training and skill updates should be available, but if no improvement results, taking a volunteer out of the program is essential. Both management and volunteers must agree that member satisfaction is paramount.

Benefits of using volunteers

The most obvious benefit of using volunteers is the dollar savings a successful volunteer program can bring. In a large corporate program, such as the one at World Bank where volunteers provide more than half of the 60 classes per week, centers can save more than $60,000 per year in wages.

Many other benefits can be gained from using volunteers. In a corporate program, volunteers set a great example for coworkers to become involved in the fitness program. Their commitment to volunteering their time and following their own fitness program is a great example to other workers who may lack motivation to exercise.

Volunteers also help promote the fitness center’s classes and various promotional activities by word of mouth. This is often more effective than the regular newsletters, bulletins and promotional flyers that are sometimes overlooked by busy members. Volunteers who are supportive of the management’s policies and procedures can also help other members better understand why certain rules and regulations are followed (time restrictions on machines, limitations to class-size numbers, class time changes, etc.).

Careful and skilled recruitment of volunteers can help provide a diverse range of activities that capitalizes on a unique mix of skills and cultural backgrounds. In a culturally-diverse area or company, volunteers can provide unique formats such as Latin aerobics, African rhythm classes, classical ballet and Aussie boxing aerobics.

Potential problems

Working with volunteers is not all smooth sailing. In corporate programs there is often a clash between the instructor’s “real work” and his or her volunteer work.

If a last-minute meeting is called or a deadline is imminent, it is not easy for volunteers to suddenly leave work to teach an exercise class. No matter how well-planned a volunteer program is, “real world” crises do arise. Management should be aware of these pressures and have substitute procedures in place.

If problems consistently occur with a particular volunteer, management should approach this person. He or she should suggest that, “While we love having you involved and appreciate your efforts, maybe you should have a rest from teaching until your workload is less demanding.”

Is There a Volunteer in the House? Part 1

It’s Monday afternoon, 4:45 p.m. Your power-step instructor calls to tell you that her car broke down and she won’t be able to teach her 6 p.m. class. This gives you a little more than an hour to find a replacement instructor. If you can’t find anyone, you or one of your fitness specialists will have to substitute. But you are short-staffed, the fitness specialists are fully booked with appointments, and you have no idea how to teach power step. Read the rest of this entry »

Mom as Coach

A mother needs to be the world’s best coach all the time. We’ve had a month here that required heavy coaching. Overlaid on the frenzy of the holidays were several “challenges” that we just had to deal with as a family. Read the rest of this entry »

I Couldn’t See Well. Part 3

The Impact of Macular Degeneration
Many people with severe macular degeneration stop driving, reading or participating in daily activities. Depression appears to be more common in people with macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is not painful or fatal. Still, since there is no cure, and because the result can be a loss of independence, many people who get it are emotionally upset. Read the rest of this entry »

I Couldn’t See Well. Part 1

Mrs. Cox is 78. A widow, she lives alone and has enjoyed relatively good health. Other than some farsightedness, her eyes were never a problem until last May. One morning, she woke up and something was wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Grandmothers at Hanukkah, Part 2

Ethel’s husband disappeared on one mission and she was left to fend for herself and her three children. Budapest was occupied by Nazi forces and conditions became so horrific that even precise descriptions do not permit our minds to fully fathom the terror Ethel must have felt. She worked tirelessly to feed her children and to cook for others who could not care for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Grandmothers at Hanukkah, Part 1

As we prepare for the holidays, our most important inspirations are our memories, and, for many of us, our grandmothers. Our grandmothers have woven the tapestries of our holiday memories — cooking, with love, food that we still can taste; decorating their homes with surprises we still remember; wishing us well with voices that still resound in our hearts. Even if we did not celebrate with our grandmothers, we have felt their touch in the traditions our mothers and fathers held dear. They seemed to set the standard for how holidays ought to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Eye Opening Statistics on Mothers Today

What are mothers doing and who is minding the kids? According to the nonprofit organization, Mothers At Home, the latest Census Bureau figures from 1997 are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »