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Is working out at home an option you should consider?

May 09, 1997|By John Rhodes

There is a growing trend in this country for people to purchase equipment to work out at home rather than join a gym or fitness center. There are a number of reasons for this trend.

Some people feel their budget will not allow joining a club or fitness center. This especially is true for young parents with growing families or seniors with a fixed income. Doing the exercises at home is the thing to do.

Many people feel that trying to find the time to travel to a gym is difficult. They feel that with the equipment right at home, all they have to do is change clothes and do their workout.

Some people may feel embarrassed to go to a gym or fitness center to work out. They have seen media ads about people working out in a gym who look like models or movie stars. Some have heard unpleasant rumors about certain gyms, so they feel all fitness centers are the same.

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All of these reasons seem to be logical and valid. But there are factors that people should consider before deciding to work out at home.

If you don't have a background in conditioning, kinetics or weight training, you could be doing exercises incorrectly or doing the wrong exercise for the results you desire. Some people invest a lot in time in reading and studying about the exercises they want to do to make sure they know what they are doing. Sometimes it saves time to pay a professional to help or to join a fitness center. This will allow you to learn about the exercises you choose and the ones you need to be doing for the results you want.

The advertising field is full of people and companies trying to sell all types of machines for the home - ab machines, treadmills, rowing machines, exercycles, etc. When you figure the cost of a treadmill, for example, you are talking between $500 to $2,000. Of course, you can get a cheap piece of equipment that won't last. Study what you need and shop around. Don't do impulse buying.

I've talked to many people who begin working out at home, but find the workouts have fallen away. There always seems to be a problem or event that takes priority away from exercise at home. The kids need something, the phone keeps ringing, someone's at the door, etc.

If you work out at home, you must learn to turn off the phone, go to the basement and lock the door. Set an uninterrupted time to do your workouts. No one is to invade that time. Keep that time for you.

No person can tell you which is the best way to go when deciding where and when to exercise. It is important to consider all avenues - money, time, location, interests, etc.

Read about the equipment you want to buy and shop for the best price. Buy a good, sturdy piece of equipment - if it has a motor, make sure the motor is adequate. If you don't know about exercise, read about what you want to do. There are many excellent books and periodicals available.

If you decide to join a gym or fitness center, take a tour and check out the place. Ask around town to see what kind of reputation the facility has. When you tour, check the atmosphere. You can learn a lot by observing the people and their attitudes. Visit the facility at the time of day you will be exercising to see if it is crowded.

Whatever you choose, stick with it. Make sure the time and exercise are realistic. Start slowly and gradually build up to a workable level.

John Rhodes is co-owner of J&J Health and Fitness in Hagerstown.

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