The Benefits of a Gym Membership
Workout at the Gym
Find the Right One for You
Whether it’s for weight loss management, back pain prevention, living a healthy lifestyle, or staying fit with personal training, whatever the reason, there are many health benefits for you and your family. If you’re interested in joining your local health club, YMCA, gym or natatorium, or fitness center, there are many highlights on signing up for a gym membership. It doesn’t hurt to do some comparison shopping on which place might be the perfect fit for you.
Most health clubs, YMCAs, gyms/natatoriums, or fitness centers, have a website and a location finder. Find the closest one to where you live and/or go to work, school/college. This way, you don’t have to travel far, and be late to work or school as well.
Advertising and Social Media
Chances are, you've heard it advertised on the radio, seen it on TV, or spotted in the flyers in your local newspapers and magazines, or came in the mail. That’s when they publicized their latest deals for newest membership at the cheapest prices. A good deal to get your foot in the door. For example, I’ve heard the local Y advertised on the radio to pay the price for membership on the day you signed up to join. Like if you went there on September 3rd, you only pay $3. Don’t you wish other memberships were like that, too?
You can always get a referral or a recommendation from someone you know who went there. Word of mouth is always key. Online positive reviews posted about the place is another good indicator as well. Check out their websites for latest deals and promotions to get in for the cheapest membership price.
Social media is another way to find out more about it. If they’re on Facebook, check out the tabs for the latest membership deals.On Twitter, follow their account, and see if they tweet about latest promos. On other social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and others, find out the latest promo deals. If they have a promo deal, text them with your cell, you might get a coupon to use.
Safe and Family Friendly
Another reason to join is it’s safe and family-friendly. Everyone stays together and gets fit at the same time. If you have kids, there would be a daycare, programs for a youth fit class, or both. It's safe for everyone to work out and talk about the class. Whether you do it alone, or with your siblings, your spouse or significant others or parents, there’s something for everyone. For senior citizens, they might be a special discount program and classes tailored for them to stay fit too. Your belongings are safe in the lockers and locked by your locks for security. Once you join, you’ll check in with your keychain tag, or wallet-sized card in your purse.
Free Trials and Membership Options
Of course, any type of membership to join a gym, YMCA/YWCA, or health club or fitness center would be expensive. But depending on where you live, there are a couple options. There’s the daily visit fee which is under $10 to pay. If you prefer to do it monthly, you pay an installed amount of under $50 for a membership per month. The most expensive deals are ones for a year, which you have to renew every year. Those are between $100-300. If your gym is affiliated to a clinic or hospital for physical and aquatic therapy, you’ll get a discount to shave off the price by as little as $100. For those on a debit card for the annual membership, you pay a monthly fee for as little as $25.
Senior citizens and families gets a different price from those who are a single resident. If it’s surrounded by different local communities, local residents will luck out than those who live out-of-town. Of course, kids under twelve are always free.
If you want a shortcut to get an “in” on a discounted membership, see if they have any job openings or volunteer opportunities. It can be anything from working at the information desk to lifeguarding at the pool.
Most fitness centers or gyms offers a free trial for a week by redeeming their coupon online, or scanning the barcode with your iPhone. This way, there’s no obligation for you to join, if you don’t like what you see, and the classes isn’t a right fit. Find out if the place is clean, the staff friendly, and a waiting list for many classes, Come prepared to ask them questions if you have any. If you’re interested in joining, be ready to sign up for a membership for a month or a year. Everyone loves freebies, right?
Plan Your Schedule
Most gyms and fitness centers have seasonal schedules year-round from fall/winter, winter, spring, summer, and fall, when some classes goes on hiatus, and the time would be adjusted a tiny bit. Most classes are offered early to mid-morning and from late-afternoon to evening. It’s best to avoid the peak hours and go when it’s not too crowded. Bring music to tone out the loneliness and other distractions of a quiet gym. With the exception of 24-Hour Fitness, which is open all-day long, gyms like Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym would be full in the afternoons and weekends.
Find the perfect time to jump into the classes. Have a workout before you start your workday. Do it during your lunch and grab a bite to eat. After work to vent out steam before heading home. On Sundays, it’s a bit less crowded, and also perfect to get your routine down without any hassles.
Another rule of thumb, if you're starting out, try to stick to one to three classes a week. Chances are, you’ll be sore after a workout and need a day to rest your muscles. A good option to do it, every other day. If you wanted to try new classes, maybe alternate it every over a week to let your body recover.
The Sky's the Limit
Whether you prefer to work out alone in the weight room and other machines, or swim in the pool, there’s plenty of group fitness classes out there on land and in water. When you sign up, all of the classes are free since it came with your membership plan. You can choose anything to fit your skill level from doing water aerobics, yoga and Pilates, Zumba, and cycling amongst other classes out there.
Although there might be an attendance sheet to log your name in, some classes are premiums, in which you pay a big price for it. I considered them optional, if you can afford it. With the exception of swimming lessons, at my gym, it’s karate, barre and kettle ball, Pilates Reformer, and Tai Chi.
Swimming's Great Exercise For Your Back
Year-long Open Swim
Although summer ends on Labor Day Weekend, if you love to keep fit by swimming, most gyms have an indoor swimming pool with tailored open swim hours per season. You don’t have to worry about getting burned by the sun, mosquito bites, the wind, and other seasonal debris. Most fitness centers have a heated pool or two to get a year-long dosage of hydrotherapy to stay in shape. Nothing beats a warm heated pool in the winter when it’s cold out there. Get warmed up by their spa and sauna room after a good workout in the water.
When you go to the gym, this is a good way to meet new people, make new friends, and discover a fitness buddy or workout partner to do it with. A fitness buddy or workout partner is a person who helps motivate you with your goals. You don’t have to do it alone. If you’re a shy person, there are many ways to get a fitness buddy for your first time at the gym.
Find somebody you know and trust. It can be your best friend, a neighbor, your sister or any relatives, your co-worker, even your significant other. If you ran out of luck there, ask your gym’s info desk about any workout partner programs. Or talk to your trainers/coaches, or fitness instructors about finding one for you. If you sign up for group fitness classes, maybe you can find someone there who would share your goals with you.
Another option is going online. There are many websites dedicated to finding your fitness buddy or workout partner in your area, while some are for hooking up like dating sites. If you have a mobile phone, check out Nexercise.com. They can hook you up with someone on the app, who may be local or from another state.
Walk, Run, and Jog at the Gym
Fitness Skill Levels
If you’re starting out in the gym, depending on what your fitness needs are, many classes are designated for beginners. Look out for the words as basic, gentle, beginners, introduction, and so on. If you’re in the middle, looks for descriptions as intermediate or athletic. To the more advanced, search for intense, advanced, hard, plus, etc. Sometimes there’s a class in between for all levels, or don’t have a descriptive title with its name.
There are three categories of aerobic exercises out there: Low-intensity, medium (high-low) and high intensity. Low-intensity exercises burn fewer categories and perfect for tackling back pain, when you have at least one foot on the ground. These include the elliptical machine, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and walking slow. Medium or high-low intensity exercises are a combination of starting out high and ending with some low-intensity exercises. It’s also known as moderate classes. These include a brisk walk, tennis, and badminton. It keeps your heart pumping as high-intensity will have you bouncing around and moving. Examples are cycling fast, basketball, and jogging.
Shoot Hoops with Your Friends
There's Something for Everyone
If group fitness classes aren’t for you, you can do things on your own, or with friends. Check out their auxiliary gym to do basketball, handball, or racquetball in an indoor court. Some fitness centers will have an indoor track for you to walk, run, or jog around to keep you in shape for your next marathon. You can always swim in their pools during their open swim hours, or hit the bikes to do some cycling.
Come as You Are
When you try out a class or two, come as you are. If you want to swim, bring a swim bag, a towel, your bathing suit, and a water bottle. You can work out in your jeans, sweats, shorts, when you change out of your work clothes. Bring a tote or a gym bag to carry a water bottle, your gear, and new clothing. Remember to dress appropriately during the seasonal changes.
Don't Just Sit There
If it’s too much money for you, you have your own home gym right in front of you to stay with these fitness tips. If you love to jog, walk, or run, use your streets and sidewalks. Check out your local parks for walking paths for bicycles and walking your dog. If you have a child, use one of those strollers you push along (and walk your dog too) to get some exercise. If you live in an apartment complex, see if they have their own fitness room available for residents, anything for lifting weights to go on the treadmill. Take a clue from the Biggest Loser’s trainers, when they give their contestants tips to do it at home.
Go online to check out videos on Youtube for exercise. If your cable station have On Demand, there might be sports and fitness videos for you. Go to the bookstore or library to check out DVDs and books on fitness and exercise. If you have your own bicycle, cycle around your own block.
So don’t just sit there! Take the plunge to go to the gym to stay in shape, or do it right at your home. Get healthy and fit with the many benefits of a gym membership.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Kristen Howe