Health clubs offer healthy option for exercise

Paula Reece
Paula Reece

Looking forward to a new year almost always prompts reflection. Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle could make your list of resolutions again this year.   

There are many ways to improve health, but exercise tops the chart. Health clubs are a healthy option, but not the only option. Alternatives include exercising outdoors or having your own home equipment. The best option could be to combine all three.

Whether you’re joining a health club for the first time or have joined clubs in the past, many factors that come into play to make your decision a successful one.  Joining a health club won’t make you fit. What you do when you get there is what’s important.

Here are some essential factors to consider in making your health club choice.

Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey, a different stage in life and have personal obstacles to overcome. The first decision needs to be made before you enter a health club. Define your expectations and obstacles and decide what’s important.

Choose a club that makes you feel comfortable the minute you walk in. Take into consideration the friendliness of the staff and other members, the music and smells. Can you picture yourself there? Maintaining a consistent exercise program is a difficult task. If you don’t enjoy spending time at the club, your chances of a success will diminish. A health club should be more than just a building with exercise equipment. You need to create a relationship with your club.

The other members constitute another important factor.  Look around when you tour a club and see if you can relate to the other members. Take a tour of the club at the same time you plan to use it. This will give you an idea of the type of members with whom you’ll be working out.  Ask members why they belong to the club, especially those who’ve belonged for a long time. 

Know what to expect after you sign on the dotted line. Is there a free introductory program that will help you get acquainted with your new fitness home? A brief tour of the club alone won’t get you started on the right foot. You should feel comfortable knowing what you plan to do on your first visit. 

There should be a variety of equipment options. Equipment should be clean and in working order. This will tell you the club takes pride in its facilities and maintenance is important. If you’re a runner, make sure the club offers high-quality, runner-specific treadmills. If you like to stretch, make sure the carpet is padded and clean. In fact, make sure everything is touchable.  

Variety in a club will not only add value to your membership, but also keep you motivated. Check out the schedule for group exercise classes. Learn who the instructors and personal trainers are as well as their credentials and teaching styles. Take time to watch a group exercise class or small group training session.

Choose a club that offers educational pieces, such as beginning classes, newsletters, seminars and workshops. The more you learn, the more engaged you’ll become.

Making a health club decision is an important one.  You need to find value, comfort, motivation and education.  When all these pieces are combined, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful relationship with your club and a healthy lifestyle.