5 Good Things Curves Gyms Have
My rusty body
For those of us who may have fallen away from meaningful physical activity, the calls to change surround us. Doctors' and healers' suggestions, lab reports, and perhaps the huffing and puffing we do for small exertions all say "you are not taking good care of your equipment." Another eye-opener can be the results of your Real Age(TM) survey. Several of these led me to the conviction that I needed to make a permanent change in my activity level. After shopping around, I decided that the best venue to ease me back into activity is the Curves(TM) gym.
A Place for Women Only
Curves is a franchise of very small gyms which admit women only. Although I am a peoples-libber who does not like to encourage notions of gender differences, Curves works for me. Perhaps we can say it focuses on culturally-created differences rather than natural ones. It certainly meets more than the need for exercise.
The Curves set-up has exercise stations, about thirteen, arranged in a circle. Stations alternate between weight resistance and aerobic exercise. Every 30 seconds, a signal is given to change stations. Additionally, background music plays in a chosen tempo to encourage one's jogging pace. There are female employees to teach you how to use the equipment and to encourage you. After doing the circuit twice, there is a ballet barre, mats, and a chart with those lovely stretches to do to cap it all. Finally, Curves provides incentives such as drawings for T-shirts based on attendance and contests for weight loss or weight maintenance.
Easing back in a hilarious atmosphere
Simple movements. Straightforward machines. That's what I knew I needed if I was going to stick with my commitment to health. But here is what I got in addition:
1. Exercises change before I get bored
2. Incredibly warm, personal interest and support from staff
5. Incentives to do well
I think all those are a pretty good deal for someone who needs to get started and stay moving for the rest of her life.
One of the reasons I was not an athletic type, ever, is because I find all the body work b-o-r-i-n-g. At Curves, you can't get bored because you switch stations before a minute is up. A variety of music tapes and the daily brain-teaser also feed my mind.
They know you
If you remember an old television show called "Cheers," part of the theme song lyrics described a neighborhood bar as a place where everybody knows your name. That is certainly true at Curves, too. The staff members learn your name (and how to pronounce it, in my case) and greet you every time you walk in the door. They ask about your life as you are doing the circuit and generally everyone has a good chat. When you have packed up to go, someone always calls out a personal good-bye. That meets my need to belong. Furthermore, they are knowledgeable and have advised me on additional exercises I can do right there with exercise balls or the wooden benches or mats for my focus areas.
For the new you
Entertainment, yes. The fellow exercisers are a HOOT! I go at different times of the day, so I have come to know many different groups. In contrast to a gym where competition may be an underlying current, Curves has a light-hearted atmosphere. Some of these gals could be doing stand-up. So, of course, I will be more likely to go to the gym if I can look forward to some good laughs.
Better than a business lunch
The amount of knowledge among the club members is formidable. They have their fingers on the pulse of anything happening in our community. New outlet shopping center coming to the area? They are ALL over it, honey. They know the hours, the contractors, the cost, the behind-the-scenes politics, and even give product reviews. Job hunting? School hunting? Ask them. Local problem? Recently, they had all the details before our local newspaper did. Wow...I like this. It is a nice bonus to the exercise benefits I reap.
Star on the forehead
Knowing that I have a monthly weigh-in truly helps me with my eating (or over-eating). I don't want to see the graph charting my progress go in the wrong direction. Furthermore, I will make the effort to get in three sessions a week in the hopes of winning the drawing for a T-shirt. It's hokey and I know it's hokey, but it still motivates me. Additional contests help members not gain over the holidays or maintain great attendance. It is not that the prizes are at all huge, but somehow the idea of winning one has a positive effect on me. Furthermore, when others pressure me to eat more, the ability to say I need to be good for Curves creates respect and they then leave me alone.
I knew I needed to get started moving and stick with it. I chose Curves. Perhaps I will become SO buff and fit that eventually I will need more from a facility than what Curves offers. At that time, I will decide whether to replace Curves entirely or supplement it. But for all of the good things you see above, my money is on my staying with Curves.
Text copyright 2008 Maren E. Morgan.
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