How to choose the right gym for you
We all know that exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. The calories it burns reduces the risk of obesity and a cardiovascular work out helps strengthen and protect the heart.
Whether you enjoy a few hours gardening, walk the children to school or cycle to work every day, getting your heart pumping is the key to good health. But for some people, a more disciplined approach to exercise is needed. And that’s where gyms come in.
So what’s the appeal? If you’re a pavement pounding jogger, a devoted ballroom dancer or a die-hard hill walker it’s unlikely you’ll ever understand the lure of free weights, cross trainers and treadmills. But for many, many thousands of us, gyms are the only way to go.
Gyms are motivating places. Working out alongside lots of other people can lend a competitive aspect that drives you to push yourself harder and longer. Simply agreeing to meet a friend there gives you a commitment to turn up and tackling the treadmill together means you can support, encourage and congratulate one another along the virtual way.
You’ll have access to a huge variety of equipment that you couldn’t possibly replicate at home – unless you were famous enough to be opening your doors to OK! magazine. Maybe you’ve got a few free weights and an exercise ball. But at a gym you’ll be able to use treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and, if you’re lucky, a swimming pool.
If you do decide to work out at home, you’ll be faced with many of the distractions that people who work from home complain about. You’ll be midway through a set of lunges when the children want to play hide and seek or the washing machine starts to leak or someone decides to pop round for a cuppa and a cry. Going to the gym indicates you mean business. Immersing yourself in that environment forces you to totally detach from outside forces and concentrate on yourself and the job at hand.
Gym owners know what they are up against. These are hard times and many people can no longer afford the luxury of a gym membership when they could just as easily put more effort into walking the dog. Competition for business is tough too – why choose one gym over another when there could the three or four for you to choose from?
Some gyms are flexing their creative muscles to attract more clients. Want to work out at 2am on a Sunday? There are 24 hour gyms that are literally open all hours. Want to pretend you’re outside when you’re sweating buckets on the treadmill? There are gyms that bring the outside in using natural light and floor to ceiling views. Want to work out in private? There are gyms that give you your own personal space where you never have to queue up to use the bench press again.