7 Reasons Why Joining a Gym Might Be a Bad Idea
When you start thinking about improving your health and fitness, getting a gym membership is likely the first thing that comes to mind.
Joining a gym has a lot of perks, however, there are some important points to consider before deciding if this is the best option for you.
Here’s why joining a gym might be a bad decision and some alternative options:
1. You will likely be given a generic exercise program
Most gyms have a free induction with one of the staff members. They will show you some basic exercises for your fitness level and experience. Along with how to use the machines and give you an exercise program. This is okay if you have no injuries or medical conditions. However, because this program is often generic it may not be appropriate. What if you have an injury or medical condition, or it may not be catered to your specific goals. This increases the risk of aggravating those underlying issues and reduces the chance of you achieving your goals.
2. No gym supervision
Most gyms have minimal supervision, so what happens if you’re not confident to do the exercise? Or you hurt yourself? Or your technique is incorrect and there’s no one to show you how to do it properly? This will increases your risk of injury. It may also put you off going to the gym at all.
3. Is your technique correct?
Taking the time to learn the correct technique before hitting the gym is really important! This leads to reducing your risk of injury or aggravation of existing injuries. It also ensures that you’re getting the most out of the exercise, so you can achieve your goals, and faster.
4. Are the exercises the best ones for what you need?
When you’re not sure what exercises to do, it’s easy to do a quick Google. This will result in countless exercises to choose from, but proceed with caution. Not all websites are reliable when it comes to explaining how to do the exercises. Also, the exercises may not be appropriate for your needs and could cause harm. Or they may be a fad exercise that looks fancy, but has no real benefit.
5. Where’s the support?
Large gyms can lack community and support. Exercising one on one or in a group setting with an exercise professional can provide that support. It can help to keep you motivated, discuss ways to overcome any barriers that may pop up. It can also give you someone to celebrate with when you achieve your goals.
A gym membership is expensive! If you start by investing in some simple exercise equipment such as dumbbells, a step, a bench and some exercise bands you can set up a little gym at home. There is a lot you can do at home with these pieces of equipment. Then seek guidance from an appropriate exercise professional who can write a home exercise program that is appropriate for you. They can spend the time to teach you to perform the exercises correctly.
Let’s break it down. The average gym membership is $17 per week, that’s $884 per year! If you go to Kmart you can purchase dumbbells, a step, a bench and some exercise bands for around $150. This, with an initial investment in some one on one sessions with an exercise professional can save you hundreds of dollars and give better results.
7. Is your new gym convenient?
It’s very important that getting to your gym is easy and convenient. Otherwise, you just won’t go. It needs to be close to home, easy parking and open when you need it to be. If you pick a gym close to your work, this can be an issue on weekends that it’s too far away from home. When weekends is the time you actually have the time to go to the gym.
So what is recommended?
We recommend that you speak to one of our Exercise Physiologists before joining a gym. They can take the time to discuss your options and help you decide if a gym, home, one on one or group program is most appropriate for you. They can write you a program and teach you how to perform the exercises correctly to reduce your risk of injury and ensure you get the most from the exercise.
by Courtney Wharton, Exercise Physiologist at The International Spine Centre & Mount Barker