Fitness Centers and gym's, from little mom and pop shops to massive, several story complexes are popping up all over the place. In the small town that I live in (which is not even a city) I can count at least 5. It's big business. People religiously pay their $40 - $60 per month for membership. Sometimes, I'm sure, it's much more. Is membership to a fitness center necessary for health and well being? I think the answer is maybe. Join with me as we delve into this subject.
What is it about this phenomenon that makes it so popular? What has driven the made craze to belong to a gym? Has the country suddenly become health conscious? Are we suddenly in a mad drive to become fit? I don't think that the evidence backs that up. In my opinion many people do want to improve their overall health and well being. The number of people who belong to a fitness center or gym has unquestionably skyrocketed in the last 20 to 30 years. The question is that if so many more people want to become healthy than before, why are people, kids especially, still gaining weight on average?
I think the gym itself and the quality of equipment are secondary. If you go into a well equipped gym you notice that many people use only one or two machines. Many people enjoy the treadmill and that's about all they use. I maintain that the equipment, although very important in marketing and differentiating workout centers is a secondary reason that people are so enthralled about the business. I maintain that the biggest attraction is the camaraderie, the friendships, the people. Getting to do something that some people only moderately enjoy with someone else makes it so much easier.
Going to a gym with a spouse, a friend or a relative when you all have the same goal in mind, to live life feeling outstanding, makes it easier and even fun. It gives many people the motivation they need to do it. And like many good habits, once a workout routine is started it becomes easier and more enjoyable. Feeding the higher level needs just makes a person crave them even more.
On the other hand, I have been an exercise enthusiast all of my adult life. I was a member of a quality gym recently for about a year. It was a first class facility and the owners were very accomplished weight lifters and weight trainers. Honestly, I never was that thrilled with the experience. It was nice to hob-nob with people seeking the same general goal as yourself but the extra time involved, the inconvenience and the expense soon became a drag. It was never really worth it's value for me.
This can happen to people who become members of a fitness center. And when it does, some get discouraged and quit exercising completely. Does it mean everything is over with, fitness is out the window and gone for good for a person who doesn't maintain their membership? I say definitely not. There are several excellent home gym products available at reasonable prices. And with some creativity a very good exercise routine can be developed around the house with just a small amount of gadgets and minimal expense.
How many of you remember Jimmy Piersoll, the legendary center fielder who played baseball for the Boston Red Sox in the 1950s and 1960s? The person who many consider one of the best defensive outfielders ever to play the game. I remember Jimmy saying many times that the best overall exercise is running. In my opinion, running is much more enjoyable when you are outside than when you are inside a small track doing 9 laps per mile. But, if you have seen the shape Jimmy was in long after his retirement you would know that he was on to something.
Fitness centers are great for some people. They help provide the added motivation needed to keep up an exercise program. For others, membership in a fitness center just does not make sense and it is not necessary. Some people have the power within to keep up the workout routine on their own. Some people work out with family members at their own houses. In the near 30 years that I have exercised very consistently, I have been a member of a gym for one of those years. Membership has not been necessary for me. Regardless, we want to do our best to help us stay in shape and live life Feeling Outstanding. If membership to a gym is what you need, go for it, and enjoy yourself!