Until the life-changing experience she had in 2014, Carla would never have considered taking physical exercises seriously, nor consider membership of a gym. However, on that memorable day, she woke feeling paralyzed, as she couldn’t move her body. At first, she didn’t understand what was happening, until it dawned on her that what was keeping her down was the sheer weight of her body. Even though she was just 5’3 and size 26, she weighed as much as 260lbs.
Carla made up her mind right there and then, that she needed to make drastic lifestyle changes – particularly in her diet and attitude to physical activities. She became more careful about what she ate and also made conscious effort to increase her physical activity. She even bought herself a bike and started cycling for at least 20 minutes every day. The problem, however, was four months after, she still hadn’t seen the changes she expected as quickly as she expected them. And the reason was obvious to her – not only was she limited in the number of physical exercises activities she engaged in, but she was also not very consistent.
It was then the idea of joining a gym occurred to her. She enrolled in one, and within a short time, she had seen such changes in her body shape and mental state that she never would have imagined. In just two years, her body weight had dropped to 140lbs! The secret, to use her own words, was that as the more she went to the gym, the more it grew on her, and gradually exercise became a hobby, an addictive source of fun, inspiration and motivation to her.
Most gym enthusiasts usually have a similar story to tell and particularly the benefits they derive from being active members of gym clubs. Truth is, even though many people know that they need to engage in more physical activity, the motivation and facilities that could help them achieve their desire are not often within their reach. Not even the recommendation by such health authorities as the Centres for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) that adults get at least three hours of moderately intense aerobic exercise every working week, has been very effective in driving most people to engage in increased physical activity. The reason, as it was for Carla, is often because of insufficient motivation or options. This, again, is why you may have to consider joining a gym to achieve your fitness goals.
The Facts Speak
There are actually research-based proofs that people who join gym centres often do better at keeping to their fitness goals and regimes than those who do not. Recently, Iowa State University scientists recruited 406 relatively healthy grownups, half of whom had registered to a gym for at least 20 days, and half who had not been members at the gym for at least two months. All the participants involved had their resting heart rate, body mass index measured, blood pressure, and completed questioning form about their time spent sitting, exercising, and doing several lifestyle activities every week.
The scientists then examined those reactions to determine which of the participants met the national guidelines for physical activity: 160 minutes of moderate or 80 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise every week, including at least three days of muscle-strengthening activities and lifting of weight.
The difference between the two groups was “pretty surprising and dramatic,” noted the corresponding author, an assistant professor of kinesiology, Duck-Chul Lee. According to him, while non-members only exercised an average of 127 minutes in a week, those who belonged to a gym logged an average of 482 minutes a week. Only 19% of non-members met the guidelines for both strength training and physical activity, compared to 70% of members.
Overall, the scientists calculated that a gym membership was related to 15 times higher odds of meeting weekly physical activity guidelines. The outcomes were alike in both women and men and were adjusted for health issues like asthma, high cholesterol, and arthritis.
Moreover, the researchers found that not only did fitness training members exercise more, they also had better cardiovascular measures and were less likely to be overweight. People that visited the gym, most notably those who had kept a membership for a year or two years, tended to have smaller waist circumferences, lower resting heart rates, and higher cardiorespiratory fitness than those that are non-members.
Beyond the Gym Centre
Before their investigation, Lee and his co-researchers had assumed that gym members might be more inactive in their time outside the gym than non-members. “We thought maybe they’d be satisfied or more tired, they’d done enough for the day,” he said.
However, they didn’t see that to be the situation, either. “Most physical activity outside of the gym was the same for both groups,” Lee added, “For non-members, joining a gym may enhance the level of overall activity.”
Because of the research’s cross-sectional design, Lee said that there is a possibility that more active people are more likely to join a fitness centre. And while the investigation took place in a city with so many health-club options, he noted, people living in more rugged areas may find it more uneasy about attending a gym daily.
Naturally, you do have to show up. “It is a fact that some people with a gym membership do not regularly go, just like the way most people who don’t have membership cards still go out and run or bike on expressways and still meet up with the guidelines,” Lee stated. For this analysis, some measurements were taken at the gym centers themselves, assuring that memberships were in use.
But Lee remarked the research supports the idea that registering in a fitness centre can help people who do not get enough exercise on their own. “At the fitness centre, you can use the resistant machines or weights,” Lee said. “In real life, there aren’t a lot of daily activities that can improve muscle.”
Elizabeth Schroeder, lead author, former Iowa State graduate student, also said that health club memberships could have more importance than just weight loss, and she hopes this research would encourage more people to find a fitness studio or gym that would work for them.
“Most people may enjoy being at gym studio and doing their everyday workout, although others may desire group classes that potentially nurture a social aspect consistent schedule, fun environment, and a workout designed for you,” she said. “Both way, they both involve the accumulation of physical activity, and that’s the main objective.”
In case you need more proofs on why you should join a gym or fitness centre, consider the following:
- Amazing health benefits
Joining a gym is one of the best decisions for your health and fitness! Several types of research have shown that a steady exercise regime and an increase in cardio fitness and strength levels can help cut down the risk of health diseases and concerns, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type II Diabetes
- Stress-related illnesses
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Having access to equipment
One of the many benefits of joining a gym is access to equipment to train, which include strength machines, cardio machines, weights, boxing kits, and various functional training gear (fit balls, resistance bands TRX, and suitable balls, etc.). It might be daunting at first; nevertheless, as time goes on, you’ll find friendly experts on hand to help you use the equipment.
- Making new friends
In some fitness classes and gym centres, activities such as discussions, listening to music and dancing are introduced so that members can bond so well. The fitness centre is indeed a beautiful way to meet like-minded people and also to be social. Group fitness classes will assist you in working towards your objectives and making friends.
- Access to vast and more knowledge
Many fitness centres have experienced and qualified personal trainers (many with sports and health-related degrees) on hand who can counsel you on the best workouts and exercise for you.
- Establish a good routine
One of the barriers to committing to a gym membership is how to justify the cost and how much you can use it. But the truth is that joining a gym and paying the fees will definitely help you to keep to your fitness timetable and routine, knowing that you are paying for the centre. You naturally establish a healthy routine with a gym membership, since you can have full use of the facilities whenever it’s convenient for you.
- Constant motivation
You either love exercising, or you have to drag yourself along to get it done! If you’re one of them, try to head to the fitness centre and being around others who are in the same situation as you can be just the incentive and motivation you need to keep going. You might even find yourself converting into an exercise lover when you’re heading to the gym on a more regular basis, hitting your fitness goals and seeing results on the inside and out!