Know Your Gym

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I still remember the first time I took my best friend to the gym. He was skeptical, always preferring to workout outdoors.  The less machinery the better, he always thought.  He lovednatural dietsand his exercise habits reflected that.

But I assured him that the gym had its perks. Personally, I loved being able to control my speed, resistance, and incline. I loved being able to monitor myself and watch TV while training.

So, my best friend shook off his nerves, stretched, and climbed onto the tread mill. He pressed the “quick start” button and eventually warmed up to a nice run. I put my headphones in, confident that I had converted him to the gym lifestyle. The next thing I knew he had missed a step and was thrown off of the machine and onto the ground.  He never came with me to the gym again.

Of course, the gym can be pretty dangerous for anyone. But over-exertion and equipment malfunction may not be the only hazards to watch out for.

In the mid 1970’s, many builders used a natural mineral called asbestos in dry wall, insulation, and heating appliances. When asbestos is disturbed, (perhaps by tread mill mishaps that cause structural damage) its fibers are released into the air. Inhaling or ingesting the fibers can lead to a serious cancer: mesothelioma.

Now here’s the scary part. Mesothelioma attacks the lungs, and the symptoms are hard to pick up on.Mesothelioma symptomscan be latent for 20-50 years, and by the time doctors diagnose victims, the cancer has usually done too much damage for treatment to have any positive effect.Mesothelioma life expectancyis usually less than a year after diagnosis.

So the next time you’re working out, take a look around. Ask a question.  If your gym was built in the 1970’s or earlier, it may be hosting a deadly poison. For those of us who live the gym life, staying healthy may mean more than a solid workout.


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