The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medical mess at fitness hubs
- Gyms ill-equipped to tackle emergency

One evening last week, a 28-year-old youth was into his treadmill routine in one of the city’s high-profile gyms on AJC Bose Road when he suddenly fainted. He was taken to Belle Vue Clinic where he was pronounced “brought dead” following a cardiac arrest.

The treadmill tragedy on September 7 has brought into sharp focus the need for proper medical facilities in the gyms mushrooming all over a city in the grip of a fitness fad.

Medical experts warn that most gyms and their trainers lack basic training in the Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) technique, vital to tackle such an emergency. The procedure involves external cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to restore blood circulation and prevent death or brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

“There must be a proper guideline to ensure medical facilities and personnel trained in CPR at these gyms,” said Subrata Maitra, city-based critical care expert.

“If a person collapses, CPR needs to be administered within three minutes,” added Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta, orthopaedic surgeon and an expert in sports medicine.

According to alarming estimates, “nearly 99 per cent” of the trainers in Calcutta have not undergone a CPR course. And this figure comes from fitness expert Preetom Mukherjee-Roy, now associated with Solace in Sunny Park.

“People working out in gyms here have all kinds of problems, from back and knee injury to torn ligaments and high cholesterol,” said Preetom. “In the West, there are certified trainers who know how to measure vital health factors... Here, there are hardly any such trainers in gyms and there is no system of in-house training either.”

According to fitness experts, when joining a gym, there should be proper tests of stamina, fitness level, endurance of muscles and other body factors before the workout regimen is rolled out and gradually pumped up.

Gyms, though, claim they abide by the basic guidelines. “We ask for the medical and health profile of a client,” said Sabyasachi Chakraborty, manager of Addlife. “If somebody has health problem, they are not given heavy exercise,” added Divya Himatsingka, director, Gold’s Gym.

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