America's Energy Doctor
One of the toughest challenges we doctors face is getting our patients to exercise enough. The basic recommendation for generally healthy adults is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to strenuous cardiovascular exercise five times per week. And they should combine cardio and strength-building exercises in their weekly routine.
It seems like a lot, and it can be hard to keep up with. I’m big on trying to help my patients and readers figure out how to make it work in their busy schedules. The first hurdle is often mental—just getting people to see why they need to make exercise a priority. And I always stress the importance of making exercise part of your routine to help it stick.
Then there’s a common question: Should you join a gym?
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Lots of personal factors come into play when making this decision. For some people, gym membership works out great; for others, it ends up a waste of money.
So… Should you join a gym? It depends. To help you figure it out, let’s go through some of the major pros and cons.
10 Good Reasons to Join a Gym
- Spending on membership can help motivate you to work out
- Access to a wide variety of fitness equipment
- It’s easy to get more comprehensive workouts in a few visits
- Instruction from a professional trainer or coach for safer, more effective technique
- Ability to take fitness classes
- It’s fun for many people
- And it’s fun with a workout partner
- You can meet new people
- Meeting others making positive lifestyle changes can help you do it too
- Gets you out of the house
These are potential benefits, but obviously not everyone experiences them. If these sound good to you and like they would apply, consider trying out a gym membership. Ideally, look for one without a contract or commitment, or that at least offers a trial period.
10 Good Reasons Not to Join a Gym
- You don’t want another monthly expense
- You honestly don’t think you’ll go
- You aren’t comfortable working out in front of other people
- You get bored in the same environment
- You enjoy exercising outdoors
- You can get many of the same workouts for free
- You can get hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t get assistance
- You can take individual fitness classes with less commitment
- You don’t have extra time for the travel
- You don’t have access to a gym that’s open when you want to go
As with the benefits, the drawbacks of gym membership aren’t always necessarily negatives. For example, forcing yourself to go and getting more comfortable exercising around other people might be just what you need to jump-start your fitness routine and new, healthier lifestyle.