So, your New Year’s resolution is to go to the gym – good for you!  What a healthy choice!  Oftentimes, people are very nervous about going to the gym – whether they haven’t been to one in a few years or have never been.  It’s OK and totally normal to be nervous.  As a therapist, I have heard many patients say they avoid going to a gym because they feel they aren’t in good enough shape.  Well, isn’t that ironic?!  I can also tell you that when I see someone at the gym who’s quite overweight and out of shape I think to myself, “good for them”!  We all have to start somewhere!

First things first:  Choosing a gym.  Choosing a gym that is either close to your home or place of employment is very important.  It needs to be convenient.  It also needs to be open hours that work with your schedule.  Pick one that is affordable.  Most health insurances offer to pay part of your gym dues if you workout a minimum of 12 times per month.  Consider whether or not you’ll need childcare – not all gyms offer that.  Some gyms require a contract and an enrollment fee, some do not.

There are many different styles of gyms/health clubs, and it helps to find one that best suits your needs and feels like a positive place.  There are studios, which are smaller and typically focus on one type of exercise like yoga, pilates, or boxing.  There are small gyms such as Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness that offer treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weightlifting equipment.  Then there are bigger health clubs such as Lifetime and the YMCA that have rows and rows of machines, pools, tennis courts, classes, childcare etc.  The larger gyms tend to be more expensive than the smaller gyms.  Studio clubs vary quite a bit in price.  Take a tour of the gym during the time of day when you’re most likely to workout – that way you can get a feel for how busy it is and the general vibe.  Also, most gyms offer a 5-7 day free pass so you can get a good feel for the place.

Once you’ve chosen a gym, you can be proud of yourself for committing to improve yourself!  So then, how do you get started?  The gym can be an intimidating environment when it’s new.  So many machines!  And everyone looks like they know exactly what they’re doing!  What are all of those classes about?  Please see my blog about how to get started at the gym.  And don’t hesitate to consult with a PDR physician, occupational or physical therapist about how to get started – they are experts on that topic!