More and more people are becoming aware of the need to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Whether it is in the food you eat or the exercise you undertake, there is a newfound emphasis on your habits and choices – especially the bad ones. But what steps should you take to make a difference? Is it the case that in order to be healthy, you have to be a member of a gym? Here we look at why you should at least consider joining a close gym to you, and how it can help you make the little changes that can make a big difference. So if you’re thinking that it is time to at least think about gym membership, read on to see why it may be just the thing you need.
Joining a gym will not get you fit and healthy that’s one thing that you have to realize straight away. You will need to attend and you will need to work hard. If it was easy to lose weight or gain muscles, well everyone would be toned and fit wouldn’t they.
Sadly, there are many people who think that the membership alone is enough. Having looked around their local gym, they sign up for a long time contract and thereafter their visits become less and less frequent. Eventually, they are paying their subscriptions to not go – and for the gym this is ideal, they receive their fees for almost nothing.
If however you do attend and get into the habit of doing so, then it can be a great thing. Remember that habits are always hard to break, so your old habits of eating poor food choices and not exercising will seem normal, and it will take commitment to change. Once your routine is established though and you are regularly attending the gym, this too will become a habit, and it will be a hard one to break – you’ll actually miss the gym when you’re not there. You might not think this possible at first but it is true. Your new lifestyle will incorporate some exercise and that is great for your physical health. But there’s more…
You all know the benefits of a healthy heart and body. You are also probably aware of the risks of diabetes and other problems that are associated with being overweight. These physical health factors can be targeted through regular exercise. Your mental health though is equally important and needs attention. Don’t worry though, exercise is a great way to give yourself a psychological boost too. The endorphins that fly around your body after a workout give you a wondrous feeling, and exercise can also help you feel better about yourself in general, calm any anxieties and reduce your feelings of stress too. Exercise is a proven way of controlling the body’s release of cortisol which is the hormone directly related to stress. As well as the benefits to your physical health, joining a gym (and going) can boost your mood too. So far so good then!
Some people dismiss gyms straight away, and of course, it is possible to exercise away from the gym. In fact, if you think about it, the majority of your time is spent out of the gym, even if you are a regular. Little changes to your lifestyle, such as taking the stairs and not the lift, parking further from the office and perhaps going out for a walk at lunchtime can all add up – but the gym has something most of you will not have, and that is equipment.
Of course, some people have the odd set of weights or even an exercise bike, but at home, these are generally forgotten and underutilized. The gym though will have all the equipment you need, and then some – especially if you picked the gym carefully. Yes, you can run on the roads, but treadmills can be kinder to your joints and you will avoid any rain showers too. Make sure that the equipment levels are right though, and the best time to visit the gym before joining is the time of day when you’ll be going i.e. say after work. You’ll soon see if the gym’s 3 treadmills are accessible or if there’s a queue. This is why you need to choose carefully. You’re paying to train so you want to be able to train on your terms and in your own way. Nothing is more disheartening than a bank of full machines leaving you with nowhere to go but home. Yes gyms will have more equipment than you, but they’ll have lots of other members too, so choose wisely and do your research.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – you might think that you know what you’re doing to attain your goals, but in fact, you may be doing the exact wrong thing! The benefit of a gym is the wealth of knowledge within it, be it through the staff or other members. Be warned though, lots of people in gyms like to offer advice, and not all of it is always right, and too much information is dangerous too. The trick is to listen politely to everyone and then gleam off the best bits. Better gyms will offer a full and thorough induction programme and may even help you create a bespoke training plan to achieve your goals quicker.
The hardest thing when it comes to lifestyle changes is motivation. Many lose their sense of purpose and end up giving up. Being a member of a gym might help motivate you, but then again there are lots of people who have proven the complete opposite i.e. those that pay to not train!
Joining with a partner or friend is a great way to stay positive. You are less likely to let someone else down if they are waiting for you at the gym than you are to convince yourself to give it a miss if you train alone. Be careful though to ensure that your partner has the same goals otherwise you may end up with conflicting programmes.
Of course, it’s nice to be outdoors, but less so when it is wet and windy, and if your training away from the gym this alone can be incentive enough to go back to bed and miss the session altogether. Gyms remove this factor and you can train regardless of the real world. This is one of the biggest positives but it can come at a price – more people will likely be there on a bad day as they have the same disincentive to train elsewhere.
There’ll be many likeminded people at the gym, all looking to be healthier. There is no doubt a community spirit within the gym, and you will get to know the regulars. Be warned though, although it is perfectly okay to be friendly whilst you are training, you do not go training to make friends, you go to get fit. It isn’t a social club, it’s a place to work out. So make sure that you get your workout done and never convince yourself that the two hours you spent chatting afterward count towards your training!
Sleep deprivation is becoming more common, be it through the use of mobile phones or just lifestyle in general. What exercise can ensure though is that you will sleep better, and most people will immediately feel the benefit of a good night’s sleep! The harder you work, the better you’ll sleep, so there is an extra incentive to push on straight away. (See also: 7 Ways To Get To Sleep More Easily)
Training and relaxation may seem at odds with each other, but exercise can both promote relaxation and incorporate it too. Swimming, for example, is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and strength building but it can also relax the mind, body, and soul as you float suspended by the water.
The decision to be healthier is an easy one to make but a difficult one to implement. Anything that can help you achieve this goal should, therefore, be welcomed. Gyms may not be for everyone, but they are right for many. They will not do the workout for you, but they should make it easier for you to do it and moreover keep doing it. Of course, you should try before you commit, as many gyms as possible to find the right one. For most the right one is out there waiting – you just need to look!