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I thought I would talk about exercise, especially after I talked about ways to stuff your face get your money's worth at a buffet earlier this week. I have been contemplating getting a gym membership. I was always one to say “no!” to indoor exercise, sweaty bacteria ridden gym equipment, and members of the opposite sex gawking at you while you work out. I have been wavering lately because of my recent expansion in my midsection (that age and metabolism is catching up to me haha), and I was thinking that good exercise habits will do my blood vessels well as I get into my thirties.
However, there are a few things stopping me from signing up for this.
One of them is that I really don't like the idea of paying monthly for something that I might not be motivated enough to use. I would say that perhaps 80% of my friends who have a gym membership (and they are paying at least $30-$50 a month for one) have not gone in the past six months. Everyone knows that this is ideally how gyms “get you” and how they make money. You pay for a monthly rate, get locked in, and don't go to the gym.
$30-$50 of unused gym utilization is anywhere from $360 to $600 a year. That might not seem like too much, but you have to keep in mind that this is after tax income, and it is another monthly expense to add to the other monthly expenses (like your cell phone bill, land line bill, electricity, cable etc.). This extra money could be going into your 401K or your RRSP.
The lack of motivation could stem from a number of factors, including the aforementioned cost per month. Another reason is that if the gym is too far from where you live (if you need to find parking, or it's at least 20 minutes away), then the benefits of staying home and not going to the gym (tend to feel like they outweigh the pros (exercise), especially after a long day at work.
Another factor is time. Time is really important. If you don't have the time to go to the gym a few times a week, then you should forget about signing up for a membership. For me, I have a full time job, a blog to work on (this blog is a time sucker, but a very gratifying time sucker), friends to hang out with, a dog to take care of etc. etc. I can't really justifying paying $30-50 a month to work out a few times a week for an hour or two at a time.
One last reason why signing up for a gym membership is not for me at this present time is because you often need to “look good” or “dress up” to go the gym. People have nothing to do other than check other people out, they can't help it, staring at the wall is boring. This concern could be negated by going to a “all ladies” gym though.
For me, I would rather be outside. Walking the dog (free), going hiking (free), jogging (free), cycling(free once you get the bicycle). I'm also kind of solitary at times, and would rather be doing exercise in the privacy of my own home. I have a few yoga and pilates DVDs that I like. They cost me about $10-$15 upfront, but I have used them so much I lost count. Also, the local community centres have drop ins that you can take advantage of. You can often buy a book of ten “visits” and it costs about $2.50 each. That way, you won't have to feel obliged to go X number of times a week. Then you won't feel guilty. Then you won't smother that guilt with cupcakes, donuts and a bag of Kettle chips.
Who knows though, when the weather isn't so beautiful and our dreary winter rainy weather comes around, I might change my mind. Then again, I might get that pass to the local mountain instead and get my exercise snowboarding down the mountain.
Readers, do you have a gym membership? Do you find it worthwhile, or is it a source of distress (like “ackk, haven't gone to the gym again this month!”) when you see the charge on your bank account or credit card?
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