This blog post is the first of two parts. In this post, I talk about the factors on the plus side of joining a gym, and some questions to ask before you join.

The most important consideration in joining a gym is your lifestyle. If you are ready to commit the membership fee, the travel time to and from the gym and, of course, the time you will be working out, then a gym has a lot to offer.

Here are 6 reasons to join a gym:

  1. Gyms can provide mental stimulation (something we all need sometimes).
  2. A wide variety of exercise classes like Zumba, Spinning, Yoga and Tai Chi. This can keep your workouts from becoming boring.
  3. Good weather! You never have to worry about running in the rain. Good air conditioning, TVs, music, friends, locker rooms and showers. Think of it as entertainment that also keeps you fit.
  4. Great exercise machines. Joining a gym gives you access to a wide range of weight-training equipment and cardio machines, such as elliptical trainers, steppers and bikes. Another antidote to monotony.
  5. Personal trainers. Gyms offer personal trainers, usually at an extra cost, who develop fitness programs tailored to each client's individual needs and fitness goals.
  6. Community. Gyms provide an opportunity to make new friends who are as committed to their fitness as you are to yours. My personal trainer at the first gym I joined became my best friend of 30 years. We became training partners, then running partners, too. So joining that first gym was a very positive and life-enhancing step for me.

Gyms come in all shapes and sizes. There are large chains like Bally's, Gold's and LA Fitness, gyms in YMCAs and municipal recreation centers, and small privately -owned neighborhood gyms. Some are super upscale and some are hardcore bodybuilding gyms. To pick one, stop by and spend a few moments.

 

Here are some things to think about and good questions to ask before you sign up:

  • Location -- select a gym that is close to your home or office, not more than 20 minutes away. Take it from me, you won't go if it's too far away.
  • Membership fee -- Know what you want in a gym and what you'll be charged for membership. For example, if you just want to lift weights, but will be charged for the pool, classes and jacuzzi, is the fee worth it?
  • Safety -- find out what kind of first aid they have. There should be an emergency defibrillator and a first aid kit readily available. A CPR-trained employee should be on site at all times.
  • Number of members -- a gym shouldn’t be too crowded at the time you can go. It’s not any fun to wait to use the equipment.
  • Parking -- finding a gym with free and secure parking is a plus.
  • Qualified and friendly staff -- all trainers and exercise-class teachers should be certified in their area of expertise. They should be friendly and attentive to your form when you're working out.
  • Quality of the site -- all equipment should be well-maintained and the facility should be clean.
  • Lastly, especially in the larger gym chains, you can often get a 7-day trial pass BEFORE signing a contract. Using it will enable you to see any problems that will prevent you from making use of your investment.

Here are some gyms in South Florida:

Miami

  • Equinox 19501 Biscayne Blvd (Aventura Mall) 305-935-9514
  • Bally Total Fitness 3301 Coral Way 305-445-7140
  • Gold's Gym 3737 SW 8th Street 305-445-5161

Ft Lauderdale

  • Bally Total Fitness 959 East Commercial Blvd 954-491-9196
  • Gold's Gym 1427 East Commercial Blvd 954-491-4653

Palm Beach Gardens

  • Gold's Gym 4540 Donald Ross Road 561-799-1515
  • LA Fitness 3176 Northlake Blvd 561-848-7989
  • Loggerhead Fitness 901 Donald Ross Road 561-625-3011

Tags:Exercise

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Sibyl

Sibyl Adams, Seniority Matters’ featured fitness blogger, has spent three decades in the health and fitness field. She began competing in local body building events in 1980, and by 1983, she was second in her weight class in the International Arm Wresting Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. Sibyl remained active in the body-building scene for more than a decade, while also teaching aerobics and running races. She retired from body building in 1990, but continued running competitively until 2004, when she suffered an ankle injury.

Today, Sibyl works full-time as a personal fitness trainer and is president of her own company, A Personal Touch Fitness. She is a certified Reiki master, a National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certified Trainer, and is currently pursuing a certification in yoga. She enjoys swimming, power-walking and playing with her grandchildren.


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