"In order to avoid overheating, a well-maintained air conditioning unit can help during a rigorous exercise regime in order to improve performance. "
At a gym or leisure centre, clients are probably expecting to sweat a bit, be it with a workout or a trip to the sauna. In order to avoid overheating, a well-maintained air conditioning unit can help during a rigorous exercise regime in order to improve performance.
But what temperature should your gym maintain? What legislation is in place to keep clients’ workouts at the optimal temperature? We explore the matter with air-conditioning system supplier Daikin, as well as looking into the risks poor temperature control can pose to gym-goers.
1. Duty of care
According to Health and Safety Executive, there are no regulations in place that deal specifically with gym or leisure centre temperatures, but normal health and safety legislation covers the vast majority of other safety requirements at the gym.
In terms of temperature, although there are no fixed regulations specifically for gyms and leisure centres, we can use minimum workplace temperature requirements as an estimate of what constitutes a comfortable temperature during activity.
The Approved Code of Practice recommends 16°C as the base level for a workplace, with work requiring "rigorous physical effort" at 13°C. Again, this isn't a legal requirement, but it gives an idea of what an optimum temperature is for comfortably engaging in physical activity.
Sport England released their own design guide for fitness and exercise spaces, with notes on ideal temperatures for gymgoers:
· Fitness Gym – 16°C to 18°C (60°F to 64°F) in the summer, with “comfort cooling” as needed.
· Studios – 18°C (64°F), with a slight summer rise acceptable.
2. Risks of high temperatures in the gym
Working out in a gym that is too hot isn’t going to be a comfortable experience. Plus, it’s a risky activity; dehydration and heat stroke are notable risks of working out in an overheated gym. But even just sweating too much can be a problem. We Be Fit notes that while over-sweating can cause gym-goers to notice an extra pound of weight loss at the end of their workout, the weight lost is fluids from sweating and will be negated with a drink. The article suggests that working out in an overheated gym for a long period can result in a 50% less effective workout! All that sweating for nothing.
3. Risks of low temperatures in the gym
It’s less common to experience a chilly gym, but it does sometimes happen and it’s just as problematic as sweltering away in a poorly ventilated gym. My Inner Go looked at the pros and cons of working out in a cold environment and found that chilly temperatures brought with it a higher risk of injury. This is because muscles tend to seize up in the cold (which is why warming up before physical activity is so important). The website offered a great analogy for cold muscles: consider them like Play-Doh! When Play-Doh gets cold, it goes stiff and doesn’t stretch, it just snaps. But warm Play-Doh is stretchy and flexible.
4. How to keep gyms and leisure centre temperatures perfectly regulated
In order to maintain a gym's temperature, the different rooms and classes need to be considered. Investing in an efficient, responsive air conditioning system will help regulate a comfortable temperature within the building, with units in Daikin's air conditioning range offering low energy consumption models to fit your carbon emission targets.
A good workout requires a comfortable environment. Keeping a good temperature through a facility will ensure customers stay happy and are more likely to keep coming back. If the gym starts to get a reputation for being freezing cold or too stuffy, gym goers will quickly turn to other establishments.