Newswise â€” Is joining a health club still on your New Year’s resolution list? The February issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource covers the pros and cons of joining a gym. Among the biggest advantages:
Variety -- Health clubs offer many types of equipment, classes and activities. Some offer luxury features such as a spa or beauty salon.
Professional support -- Fitness and training professionals can custom-design programs to help individuals reach fitness goals.
Safety -- Professional, certified staff offer guidance on proper technique and form to prevent injury.
Out of the weather -- It’s never too hot, cold or wet inside a fitness facility.
Camaraderie -- Meeting a friend for a yoga class or being surrounded by others who exercise can be motivating.
Institutional-size features -- Some health clubs offer Olympic-sized pools, racquetball and tennis courts or a running track.
On the other hand, some aspects of a health club may be less than positive.
Cost -- Memberships can be expensive and some are based on long-term contracts. By some estimates, it takes two visits a week to justify the expense. Before signing up, consider paying a “per visit” fee to try out the facility.
Convenience -- If it’s too far away, too crowded, or takes too much time, a health club might not be the best option. There are many other ways to exercise outside of a health club.
If the pros outweigh the cons, consider a health club that suits individual fitness goals and interests. Those who don’t swim or play racquetball might find a smaller facility suits their needs. A health club should have a comfortable atmosphere, be clean, and have a friendly and inviting staff and well-maintained equipment.
Staff training is important, too. Staff members should be certified by a nationally accredited agency such as the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
I believe it is worth it. For me it's the ability to place the children in a safe childcare environment and focus on a solid, uninterrupted workout. It can be done at home, but at the gym, there are no distractions. The variety offered in classes and equipment means that no day has to be the same. I love cross training and trying new things. With the YMCA's income based membership really makes a quality membership attainable to anyone. I much rather put the money into the facility than spend it on cable (which we don't have)!
I've always been one of those people who join a gym, go regularly for two weeks, but stop going because of something. I never seem to get back on track, so I cancel a few months down the line. So for me, it's not worth it. I am a member of
Planet Granite, but I don't consider that a gym - it's a place to go rock climbing. They have a small gym upstairs but I never use it. I have been with them for about six months now...
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