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Fitness Australia app to improve issues of permit systems for outdoor training
Having long been involved in the development and implementation of outdoor training policies, Fitness Australia has launched a new web based platform which it hopes will assist both fitness professionals and local governments in gaining a better understanding of permit systems for outdoor fitness and training.
With permit systems identified as the most complex of its many advocacy efforts, Fitness Australia hopes that the ExerciseSafe app will both trainers and local governments to make more informed decisions regarding the delivery of outdoor training services.
ExerciseSafe has two clear objectives:
• To enhance the safety of outdoor training for both exercise professionals and clients of outdoor training services.
• To enable Fitness Australia to gather real and timely data relevant to the delivery of outdoor training services, which will enhance their capacity to influence and guide local government outdoor training policies.
For the trainer, the program enables them to access information regarding the relative safety of the park or reserve, the usage frequency and an enhanced level of safety for them and their clients. Critically, the ExerciseSafe program will allow both trainers and local governments to make more informed decisions regarding the delivery of outdoor training services.
For councils, the ExerciseSafe program will allow them to better understand the delivery of outdoor training within their local government area. This includes how often sessions are being run, what times and importantly how many residents are benefitting from those services.
This is a critical aspect of the program because outdoor training policy development is rarely influenced by an evidenced based approach to policy development or a clear analysis of the actual impact of commercial fitness delivery on public open space, the impact of a permit system on the trainers and certainly not on the positive impact of commercial exercise delivery on the users of these fitness services.
In developing this program, Fitness Australia has built a significant database consisting of the names, addresses of 11,500 parks and reserves spread across 86 local governments throughout Australia. Furthermore the program includes data extracted from over 65 local government permit and usage systems.
The simplicity of the program is apparent and it can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet. Importantly it is linked to the registration record for the individual and when accessing the program for the first time on a device, the trainer will be asked to log in using their Fitness Australia username and password.
As the trainer arrives at the park or reserve to conduct their session, they ‘check-in’ with the app, which identifies their approximate location, providing a choice of parks/reserves within the immediate vicinity. The trainer chooses the appropriate park name and address and this identifies the local government area they’re located in. The significance of that last point is that through the identification of the local government area, an alert appears, informing the trainer of the conditions of usage within that park. These may include elements such as limitations around the number of participants in each session, limitations on use of park furniture and signage restrictions. Importantly it also provides a link to the permit application form relevant to that council. The trainer has the option of opting out of these alerts however if they do so, they will receive a notification on their next check in, if any of the usage conditions have changed.
The trainer is then asked to complete a brief 10 question ExerciseSafe assessment of the area within that location they intend to use. This encompasses questions that impact on the relative safety of the site, as well as the suitability of exercise within that space. The completion of the ten question ExerciseSafe assessment then calculates an ExerciseSafe score which provides the trainer with immediate feedback on the relative safety and suitability of that space for exercise.
The introduction of ExerciseSafe is detailed in a feature in the September/October 2014 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.
For more information about the ExerciseSafe program contact Fitness Australia on 1300 211 311 or visit www.fitness.org.au
The ExerciseSafe program has been developed by Fitness Australia and Australian based software development company IMS Comply www.imscomply.com.au
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