Is your health club working for you?

by DavalosMcCormack on February 22, 2008

I was hoodwinked into joining a health club. I was of the mindsetĀ  “Who needs a Health Club!”. After all, I live in California so weather is not an issue in order to exercise outdoors; in fact most days are sunny or at least warm enough to do outside stuff for free! Then a friend of mine invited me to her health club and it was nice but I thought, who needs to add another monthly bill to the budget, right? Besides, the initiation fee was all the deterrent I needed. And then it happened.

The Club offered a “free” month, and at the end if you joined, guess what, no initiation fee and no long term contract! So I thought, “Okay, I’ll try it for a month or two”. That was nine years ago! So why did I stay? Well, I like the steam room, and the showers are clean, and the staff are well trained and the towels are soft and the classes are fun. Not to mention the equipment and all the toys that you can try. So I have figured out ways to fit the expense into my budget, which is why I was recently gratified to read the February issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource which covers the pros and cons of joining a health club.

First of all they like the variety that Health clubs offer such as equipment, classes and activities, not to mention the luxury features like steambath, jacuzzi, sauna or spa treatments. (which cost extra at my club, spa treatments I mean.)

Other things on the pro side are professional support, staff that can tailor a program to your fitness goals, and the safety of learning the “right” way to exercise. Plus, the camaraderie of people who are working out too or having a friend in class with you. The other things they mention are the access to racquetball courts, pools, and tennis. My club has squash courts. Who would have thought that I would fall in love with squash!

The cons you ask? Well, there’s the cost of the club. How many times do you have to go per week to make the ends justify the means? Or in other words, Will you go enough to make it worth your while? The average estimates are two times per week to make it cost effective. I go 4 to 5 times per week. Other things to consider are how hard is it to get there? Do you like being there? What about the type of people you meet.

So, why did I stay? Well, I like being among people who are working toward the same goal, to be healthy and fit, and I like being physically fit. I like being able to walk for miles without thinking, “Can I make it?” I like looking as good as I can. I like being my age and feeling alive. I like enjoying life to it’s fullest, and it takes being in good physical condition to do that. It makes your skin glow and your attitude changes for the better.

But you don’t have to have a gym/club to accomplish these things. Some of my friends really don’t care about steam, saunas or fancy amenities and they like the homeyness of the YMCA or Curves, and some of my friends don’t belong to any club and still are in great shape. It’s really about what you do to make exercise a part of your life and I guess you just have to ask yourself, “What do I need to make and support healthy choices in my life?”

Whatever the answer is, the time to begin is now. The only time you are wasting is your own.

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