Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
Reasons to Belong to a Fitness Club
We have a joke about “going to the club” and “going to the jungle gym”. It sounds uppity to call it a club, yet it is short for health club, so I call it the club. My counterpart calls it an adult playground, hence the name jungle gym. Whatever you call it, health and fitness clubs have inundated our country and are available no matter where you live.
Why should you belong to a health and fitness club?
If you remember the basics for living a healthy life, they are eat well, get enough sleep and exercise, and in my world, be happy. To focus on just the exercise part, it is recommended that a person get 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Exercise helps your body function well, keeps you healthy, elevates your mood and can be fun. Exercising in a fitness club with other people around can be fun because studies show that whether you are exercising, commuting, or doing housework, everything is more fun in the company of others.
This holds true for me as I tend to be a social exerciser. My dear friend would arrive at 5am to pick me up for a 5:15am class at the club. Thank goodness for the advent of texting so that should plans change early in the am, we don’t have to call and wake up the whole household. Having an exercise buddy helps hold you accountable so we rarely did cancel. I enjoy the camaraderie and exercising with a buddy, seeing familiar faces at the gym; in essence, having another family at the club. Most of the people I encounter at the club are nice people.
I have been fortunate to come from a family with a naturally high metabolism. I eat like a horse, pardon the pun and I am able to maintain. My muscle tone will slip if I don’t exercise, and I’ve found that it is easier to maintain than to lose, so my hat’s off to all the people that are at the club to shed a few pounds and tone up. I am there to stay in my current jean size and feel good.
When you exercise, your body releases various hormones. One of which is oxytocin, the happy hormone. Everyone handles stress differently, but for me, I know I need my oxytocin from exercising every morning if I am going to be a nice person to my friends and family. So, if I ever feel like slacking off, my family is the first to remind me to get to the club because it directly benefits them. And, if you see me somewhere and I’m grumpy, chances are that I missed my workout!
A doctor friend I know expresses the importance of exercise through a visual explanation. He compares the importance of exercise and just moving with a river and a pond. A healthy person’s body is like a river. Everything is flowing and moving and the water is essentially clear. An unhealthy person who doesn’t exercise is like a pond that is stagnant. The stagnant ponds near me are covered with green scum. No way do I want the inside of my body to look like that!
Most health clubs offer classes and I have tried many of them. I find that I work harder in a class than when I work out on my own. Once again, I am surrounded by more people, so it is fun. And there is that sense of accountability from being in a group of like-minded people. Plus time seems to go faster.
Most clubs offer personal trainers and especially when you are starting out. A few sessions with a trainer are a good way to start. The trainer will get you going on a solid exercise routine to meet your goals, keep your form good to prevent injury and help you make progress more quickly which will keep you motivated to keep going to the club or jungle gym.
I’ve belonged to my gym for 6 years. I’ve done classes ranging from spinning to weights to body pump to yoga. These days I run with a friend one day and do my own workouts and a class or two on other days. When I get bored, I find something new to do or I throw in a day of swimming followed by the steam room to get that chlorine out of my pores.
Exercising for me is as basic and important as brushing my teeth. I exercise every day except Sundays or when life just doesn’t allow, and the priority I place on it demonstrates to my children that exercise is not an option but a way of life.
At the end of your workout, make sure you replenish. I am a fan of Muscle Milk chocolate flavored protein powder. It has amino acids, 16g of protein in the size I drink and just tastes yummy! It helps me feel rejuvenated after exercising rather than having that drained sluggish feeling. However you choose to replenish after your workout, make sure you do and you will be raring to go back to the “jungle gym”.
Finally, you don’t have to be an athlete to belong to a club. You don’t have to be in shape. You don’t have to be rich. Some health clubs offer membership for $9.99 a month. All you have to be is interested in your health. All you have to do is get up and go.
Hope to see you there. Tell me how you stay motivated and how you replenish after working out!