Everyone knows that joining Oakgrove Leisure Centre is a quote-unquote good idea. Now, a new study looks at exactly how much of a benefit fitness club-goers have over the rest of us when it comes to getting regular exercise—and its results may convince you to restart that stalled membership.
To put some research behind this commonly held belief, Iowa State University scientists recruited 405 relatively healthy adults, half of whom had belonged to a gym for at least 30 days, and half who had not been members for at least least three months. All participants had their resting blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index measured, and completed questionnaires about their time spent exercising, sitting, and doing various lifestyle activities each week.
The researchers then analyzed those responses to determine which participants met the national recommended guidelines for physical activity: 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, including at least two days of weight lifting or other muscle-strengthening activities. Not only did gym members exercise more; they also had better cardiovascular measures and were less likely to be obese. Gym-goers—especially those who had kept a membership for a year or more—tended to have lower resting heart rates, higher cardiorespiratory fitness, and smaller waist circumferences than their non-member peers.
If you’ve never lifted weights before, it can be intimidating. And when you consider the many different types of exercises, the amount of weight to lift, the number of repetitions and sets, and the amount of rest between sets, you might think you need a PhD to understand it all.
Gyms like Oakgrove Leisure Centre have changed and are more welcoming than ever. Once the place where only athletes and hardcore fitness enthusiasts with big muscles went to show off their bodies, gyms are now filled with everyone from Mr. Olympia to the grandma next door.
I’m just going to go ahead and state the obvious upfront. Going to the gym is healthy. If you’re just starting and feel like you aren’t making progress, give yourself a pat on the back for at least making the effort. Going to the gym is just the first step. The gym is a magical place, but it’s not mystical. You can’t just sign up, walk in the gym and have the gym gods grant you a healthy body. It’s going to take work and dedication.
However as I just said, going to the gym puts you on the path to a healthy lifestyle and that’s what our end goal is. It’s your path to success, you just have to work at it.
There’s no question that there is a direct correlation between healthy active individuals and gym going. It’s a simple as that.
I don’t know about you but I feel pretty damn good about myself after I leave the gym. It just feels good to be healthy. I think this is one of the most important reasons to go to the gym.
A lot of people overlook this aspect of lifting and fitness. If you look good, you are going to feel better about yourself. It’s like a chain reaction, you start lifting, you start to look better, you start to feel better, and when you start feeling better about the way you look your going to gain confidence. A lot of confidence.
More importantly though, this confidence you’re going to gain has direct real world benefits. It can help you in your relationships, your job, your friends and just your entire social life in general.
Group exercise classes have been a mainstay of the gym environment since the leotard and spandex wearing Aerobics craze of the ‘80’s. According to recent research, however, more and more men are getting into what used to be a female dominated activity. If you haven’t experienced the thrill of successfully making it through a group class, it’s about time you did. Here are some reasons why group exercise at Hertsmere Leisure deserves to be a part of your fitness program:
Group Exercise Classes Are Motivational
Working out on your own can be a drag. Sometimes you need an external motivator. Group classes at Hertsmere Leisure offer it in spades. Firstly, you’ve got the instructor to encourage you to push to the limit. Then there are the people around you. Just seeing them pushing themselves is a great motivator in itself. And if one of them happens to whisper, “Keep going, you can do it,” then that’s priceless. The variety that you find a group class is an extra motivator that will keep your body guessing and your mind fresh.
Group Exercise Classes Are Challenging
The number one reason that people who regularly train at a gym don’t get the results they want is that they don’t challenge themselves enough. In other words, their workouts are too easy. You won’t get that in a group exercise class. So long as you choose the right class for your level, you will be challenged to work harder. And you will definitely want to make sure that you keep up with the rest of the class.
Group Fitness Classes Provide Variety
Group fitness classes today offer a huge variety of training options to add fun and specialized focus to your workouts. Group classes are available both indoors and outdoors, and you can focus on everything from boxing to Pilates, Bootcamp to Bosu. Of course, each class comes with it’s own certified expert to guide you along.
Group Exercise Classes Provide Structure
Knowing how to properly structure your workout takes knowledge and skill. Many people who are let loose on the gym floor simply don’t know what they’re doing. As a result, they end up performing workouts that are less than ideal. At best they are wasting valuable workout time, at worst they are risking serious injury. But, when you join a group class, all the planning has been done for you. A certified expert trainer has meticulously structured the workout to provide your body with the warm-up, progressive intensity and warm-down that it needs to work safely at its best.
Group Exercise Classes Check on Your Form
A lot of gym goers develop sloppy exercise form. Yet, when you’re in a group fitness class there’s nowhere to hide. The instructor is usually on a raised platform in front of you. Her eyes are going to be upon you because her job is to ensure that you perform the movement the correct way. If you don’t, she’ll guide you so that you get it right.
While gyms at Hertsmere Leisure have many benefits, often including the most up-to-date fitness machines and gym equipment, going to a gym also can cost you a significant amount each month. While this may prove money well spent if you use it frequently, it may also prove to be wasted money if your gym or you just aren’t up to the task.
Here are the pros and cons of joining the gym to help you make an informed choice:
Pros of joining a gym
- Joining a gym like Hertsmere Leisure may be the mental motivation that you need when beginning a fitness program.
- A gym can offer a wide diversity of activities to improve flexibility, mobility, posture, strength and power as well as relaxation techniques.
- Gyms can provide an atmosphere conducive to a tough workout.
- There are multiple classes to attend, so there should be one to suit everyone.
- Facilities are available to you around the year and in any weather.
- There is a social aspect of joining a gym.
- Training is indoors so bad weather will not affect you.
- Most modern exercise machines will have a heart rate monitor, making it easy to stay in the target heart rate zone during your workout.
- The fees are an inducement for sustaining commitment.
- Professionals are on hand to offer advice on fitness and exercise.
- Gym sessions can optimise mental and physiological training effects.
- Some gyms include access to spa facilities – perfect for after your workout!
Cons of joining a gym
- Cost of joining a gym.
- The social ambience of a particular gym is not suited to your personality.
- The gym is overcrowded at the times you can visit and as a result you end up waiting around to use certain machines, or rush through your routine to allow other people the use of equipment.
- Factoring in travel, changing and showering times can make your trip to the gym long.
- You can do just as effective workouts at home (for free!)
- A stifling environment as opposed to the open air spaces where you run.
- In some gyms there is a lack of supervision and it is difficult to obtain advice and support.
- All the facilities that you require are not always available.
- Some people don’t like being watched when they workout.
Before you make your decision about joining a gym, ensure that you weigh up the positives and negatives listed above. It is also important that you investigate the gyms or fitness centres in your area by undergoing a trial session, before you commit to investing in a long-term membership.
You may be thinking about switching to a newer, healthier lifestyle that will benefit your physical health. You may be wondering what you could do for your body and how you can reenergise yourself with a kick start to your health. You can set yourself up for success by changing the way you do things bit by bit. If you try to drastically cut out lots of different foods all it will lead to is cheating and now that you are embarking on something amazing the last thing you’ll want to do is jeopardise it.
Thinking about planning a healthy diet as a number of small and manageable steps will help your new healthier ways to become a habit rather than a fad. Some people kick off a new lifestyle with a full body detox and something like that can be great as a cleanse to rid yourself of all toxins before starting from the bottom up and refilling your body with wholesome foods. If you start preparing more food at home and cooking more meals in the house it can really assist you with taking charge of what you are eating and better monitor exactly what goes onto your plate. Portion control is one of the best things you can do for yourself so start by paying attention to packaging and recommended portion sizes. Even pouring a full bowl of cereal in the morning is overeating as you are going far over the recommended daily amount – likely without even realising it! The best detox cleanse for the body that you can find will always suit around fruit and vegetables and starting with adding more fruit and vegetables into your diet. Making those changes can make such a big difference.
In saying that, try not to just add more vegetables for your plate. The key word to remember is ‘replace’ so if you tend to have lots of pasta, reduce the amount of pasta and add more vegetables. If a third of your plate is vegetables at dinner time you’re filling up on more of the good stuff! Simplify things by looking at your diet like a colour wheel. The more vibrant colours you are eating, the less ‘beige’ foods like bread, creamy sauces and pasta which then changes your relationship with food. Less refined carbohydrates that immediately convert to sugar when ingested and more colourful vegetables will change the way you even taste food. As you try newer foods your taste buds will adapt and you can learn to love new tastes.
Drinking plenty of water is key for a lifestyle adjustment. If you’ve been used to filling up on high sugar juices and fizzy drinks, you’ll be suffering some withdrawal headaches for a while. Don’t be fooled that the diet version of any fizzy drink is actually good for you: aspartame is a very real danger in so called diet drinks and is just as dangerous if not more so than sugar. So if you are going to have a fizzy drink make it the ‘fat’ version but just have it a lot less.
Small changes can make big differences to your attitude, energy and weight so make those small steps first and gently maximise them.
In every magazine on the shelves in every shop there is always a section for weight loss, recipes, slimming and detoxes. You cannot escape it. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are just a few of the very many social media platforms that people use to promote the most popular, fastest working, celebrity endorsed weight loss body detox. Detoxing is a subject of huge importance across the health and beauty industry and performing regular body cleanses and detoxes are a core principle of most fitness fanatic’s beliefs. A detox is a process in which a person makes lifestyle changes to clear their body of toxins, whether that means trying out the Paleo way of living or embarking on a Whole 30 journey or simply juicing down every fruit, vegetable and table leg you have in the house to get your vitamins and minerals and have your body nourished.
We humans are in constant contact with harmful organisms and pollutants and though we are well equipped with an immune system designed purely to head off these nasties, that doesn’t mean we cannot go the extra mile and embark on some home total body cleansers to make life a little easier and stave off illness that bit longer. There is no practical way to protect yourself from toxins unless you chose to live the entirety of your life in a hermetically sealed suit, which definitely wouldn’t work! The body has the natural ability to cleanse itself and detoxify itself and remove waste. We have an entire system dedicated to it. Our excretory system plays the largest role here and the skin is a barrier to many toxins getting into our bodies. We sweat out a lot of toxins every day and there are six ways to detox your body effectively:
- Choosing the right food is one of the best things you can do to support your body’s detoxification process. Choosing organic fruit and veg and living in the ‘cleanest’ way possible will help. We don’t mean spraying your food in bleach and giving it a scrub, but eating a lot less processed and refined sugars can really make the difference to your system.
- Exercise helps to maintain a healthy muscular structure and meditation helps to maintain a healthy mind. Sweating during a workout is literally like the fat is crying off your body and this will help rid you of toxins built up while toning muscles. Meditation clears your mind as stress can be just as harmful!
- Strict raw, organic, vegan diets can help your body maintain a low level of toxins instead of a high level that sugar and alcohol provides. The thing is with much of life’s pleasures revolving around food it can be difficult.
- Breathing our currently over polluted air is another way of ingesting toxins. Breathing cleaner air can help this but of course, you cannot control the environment outside. Proper ventilation in the home can make such a difference and if you’re a smoker, I don’t even need to go into the reasons you should put down the cancer sticks and live a longer, healthier life.
- We are made up of mostly water so it stands to reason that keeping well hydrated will help your body to function properly. Plain water tastes amazing when cold so chill a few bottles and keep them going through the day. You need it to perspire, produce saliva and remove waste so keeping hydrated keeps your body alert and healthy.
- A total body cleanse can be a long and committed process but doing one every couple of months can keep your body healthier from the inside.