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So you've made the decision to get into shape and live a healthier life. Part of being in good health is getting enough exercise.
There are many ways to get exercise. If you're an avid runner or walker, it may be all the exercise you need to stay in top form. However, most people prefer a combination of exercise, including weights and cardio. For that reason, many people choose to join a local health club, where a variety of both cardio and weight equipment is available.
Other people choose to create a gym in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, purchasing select equipment to help them achieve their health goals.
Which is the better choice? In order to answer that question, let's compare home gyms with fitness centers.
The biggest benefit to having a home gym is convenience. You no longer have to worry about squeezing in a workout according to the hours of operation of your local facility. With a home gym, you can work out any time.
Home gyms also eliminate the drive time many people experience when traveling to the local gym. With an average of 15 minutes each way, that is a half hour of time spent in the car that could be used for exercising in a home gym.
Travel times to and from a gym aren't the only thing that can be reduced with the usage of a home gym. During peak hours at a gym, wait times to use the equipment can be a hassle. With a home gym, there are no wait times, and workouts can become more efficient.
Having a home gym also can be easier on the budget. The average cost of a monthly membership at a health club is $40. Add in initiation fees and other hidden costs of a gym membership, and a person can easily spend $500-700 a year on a health club membership. With a home gym, an initial investment for equipment is all that is necessary. Decent home weight gyms range in price from $350 to $2,000. For the average exerciser, equipment at the lower end of the price range will suffice. Cardio can be accomplished without equipment by walking or running outdoors. During times of inclement weather, an indoor exercise bike, elliptical machine or treadmill can be handy and will cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 each depending on the quality of the machine purchased.
While having a home gym can be beneficial, for some people, it is not the best way to work out.
Dedicated bodybuilders, for example, will require the variety of machines and free weights that most gyms provide in order to continue to advance in their training.
Some health clubs and fitness centers also offer amenities - such as swimming pools and hot tubs - that are not readily available in the majority of private homes. If these kinds of perks are important to you, then a fitness center would be more valuable than a home gym.
Fitness centers also offer the social aspect that most people crave. If you are the kind of person who enjoys working out with people with like-minded fitness goals, a gym membership is the way to go. If you enjoy taking group exercise classes, again, a fitness center atmosphere would be ideal. Many fitness centers provide a variety of exercise classes for members.
And for some people, without the motivation of knowing they paid to use a facility, regular exercise would not be included in their schedules. When you have home gym, it can be easy to put off exercising for another day when you know it isn't costing you money to do so.
Fitness centers also provide trained staff to help you with your fitness goals. For the novice exerciser, it can be difficult to get started on an appropriate routine at home without the consultation of a professional.
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