With so many gyms around, are they really necessary? From your national chains to local gyms, there is an ever growing social pressure to be a member of at least one of them.
Research has shown that as many as two third of those with gym memberships don’t ever use them. So here we have a realistic and achievable list of alternatives options that won’t cost you a monthly direct-debit or a huge annual membership fee.
1 .Run – it really is that easy. Grab a pair of running trainers and hit the streets. Thousands of gym members pound the treadmills several times per week. Why not go one better and use your natural surroundings. If you live in the city, you will have so many different route options, allowing you to get to know the area much better. If you live in the countryside, then take in the nature and views – either way, it’s better than the treadmill. The natural hills and terrain will add variation to your workout. If you need a bit of motivation to get out the door for a run then consider joining a running club.
2. Cycle – if you have a bike, get it out of the shed and put it to use. Like running, cycling on the roads can help you explore your surroundings in an interesting and beneficial way. It works similarly to running, but you can travel larger distances more easily, meaning you can take more in when it comes to scenery. Cycling at the gym is easy (you can even watch the news as you’re peddling), but you don’t move an inch. Being able to go up and down hills provides variety that will not only prevent boredom, but also keep your body and your muscles on their toes. This sort of variation helps you get the most out of your workout.
3. Sport – there is no better way to staying fit than joining a sports team. You have social benefits to consider too if it is a team sport. Solo sports such as tennis are great as they allow you to monitor improvements, compete with others and have fun – all of which make you forget that you are actually working out and exercising.
Team sports are arguably even better. Not only do you get the same positives as a solo sport, but you also get the camaraderie and sense of team work and cooperation as you work towards a common goal with your team mates.
Similarly to a solo sport, the enjoyment and nature of playing sport means you are distracted from the exercise itself and ultimately focus more on winning/playing the sport.
4. Exercise DVDs – There are hundreds of exercise DVDs out there and for the most part they remain as unused as the majority of gym memberships, but exercise DVDs have a place and can be a great alternative; especially if you haven’t got much free time as it is. Being able to pop on a DVD in the morning in your own home is great. Most workouts are between 30 and 60 minutes long and require minimal equipment (if anything). Add in the fact that it is completely private and you have the perfect option for those who are self-conscious. The fact that there are so many DVDs out there means if you become bored with one, you can switch to another incredibly easily.
Hopefully the above lists could stop you from feeling the urge to join a gym that promises almost instant weight loss, or a promotional sign up discount. There are many benefits to joining a gym, but be aware that there are cheaper and equally as effective alternatives.
Some people enjoy a gym membership as it means they can run, cycle, swim and lift weights at the same place. It is convenient and can provide some structure around your fitness. There is also the idea that if you are paying for something then you are more obliged to use it (although this isn’t always the case).