Joining a Gym: Pros and Cons

Joining a Gym: Pros and Cons

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Most people think about joining a gym at one point or another. Gyms came with the times we live in. In my grandparents’ time, this was unheard of. They would get plenty of exercise by doing farm chores, riding horses and walking long distances to get to work.

Life sure has changed since then. We have so many means of transportation that we don’t really get the exercise our bodies desperately need to be healthy. So someone saw the gap and leaped to the opportunity to make some big bucks, and there you have it: Fitness Centers all over the place.

Now let’s be realistic and talk about the cons first

1. Money, money, money! Gyms are expensive and never mind what they tell you, it will cost you in the end. A gym membership might be fairly doable for a single person, but as soon as you start to add some family members, it can get pretty steep.

2. Gyms will make you sign a contract, and it’s really hard to get out of that. Even if you purchase a contract that is transferable, you will find out the moment you try and transfer your contract or sell it to someone else, there are some pretty expensive charges to do so.

3. If your fitness center is too far away, chances are that you will not go consistently and lose interest, while your monthly deductions are still going strong.

4. If you have quite a bit of weight to lose and you join a gym that has a lot of good looking people jogging away, you might feel intimidated and ashamed to go back.

5. Gyms can be a breeding ground for diseases, and even though the equipment get cleaned all the time, you are likely to catch someone else’s bug, seeing that your hands go where there hands have just been.

Now, don’t get too discouraged, there really is some pros too:

1. Certain insurance companies will actually pay some of the money towards your memberships at certain fitness centers. It won’t hurt to check with your insurance.

2. Fitness centers have a great variety of equipment and classes available. It is important both mentally and physically to have some variety in your exercise diet so that you don’t get stuck in a rut and quit.

3. Gyms give you the opportunity to either take along an exercise buddy or make a friend in one of the classes. The accountability and encouragement of a friend can help you stay consistent with your exercise routine during challenging times.

4. If you have a lot of weight to lose and are pretty out of shape, you might feel more comfortable at gyms that are only for women. These gyms usually cater for women of all shapes and sizes without judging or discriminating.

5. There are always the YMC and your town’s Park and Rec clubs to consider. These are much more affordable.

Me, I like the gym. I am not a big outdoor person and even when I couldn’t afford to join a gym I would do some workout videos at home or go for a walk in the neighborhood, not very adventurous, I know.

However, I take precaution. I always have my hand sanitizer close by, I check to make sure I pay the lowest monthly payment and I try to use as many of the equipment and classes that I can to get my money’s worth.

There were times when I felt uncomfortable, but I tried turning that feeling into inspiration: “I want to look and run like that” and I got over it. I don’t know for how long I will be able to afford it, but for now I like to run where the weather is always fair and the treadmill doesn’t hurt my knees. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll be brave and run outside, in this economy I might just have to…

Author: Heleen Woest
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