Where Should You Work Out?

We’ve all heard reasons why getting at least a moderate amount of exercise is important. After all, exercise makes you happier and less prone to depression and anxiety. Many people lose weight by exercising regularly, but even if you don’t, you’re still building stronger bones and muscles and reducing your risk of certain diseases. If you’re a woman who’s looked up facts about breast cancer and started to worry, know that exercise can help reduce that risk. Once you’ve decided to get in better shape, though, you still have to answer a few questions. The biggest one is “Where will I work out?” Here are three great spots to exercise.

Your home gym

This is by far the most convenient option, because we’re lazy and don’t like to leave the house more than necessary. In fact, the Center for Disease Control says that not having enough time is one of the biggest barriers to physical activity. If time is precious, then what’s quicker than heading down the hallway to your designated exercise room?

You’ll have to buy some exercise equipment for your home, which can get expensive fast. It’s best to buy two or three different types of equipment, since you’re less likely to get bored if you can switch things up occasionally. Thankfully, you’re only paying for that stuff once at the beginning. You don’t have to get charged for it on a monthly basis. You don’t have to fork over your bank account information. If you decide to go all out and get a pool for swimming laps, hiring a swimming pool contractor in New Jersey won’t exactly be cheap, but at least you know exactly what you’re paying up front.

The great outdoors

Exercising outdoors has certain advantages that are hard to replicate inside four walls. Researchers have found evidence that joggers have a different stride when they’re running outdoors. Running outdoors also gives you the option to run downhill occasionally, which works the muscles in a different way than running on a flat surface or even uphill. You can push up the incline on the treadmill, but much fewer treadmills come with a decline feature. If it was more common, people would fall off treadmills a lot more than they already do now.

Exercising outdoors helps you soak up some much needed Vitamin D as well, and being out in nature improves both your physical and mental health. However, not everyone will have equal access to outdoor fitness. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll see some diehard runners who are still out there in gym shorts even when it’s below freezing, but most people tend to retreat inward when the weather gets cold and dreary. It’s a natural human impulse that’s hard to overcome. Exercising outdoors also comes with certain safety concerns that women in particular know all too well. It’s tough to enjoy your workout if you’re constantly on alert.

A fitness center

This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the one that provides you with the widest range of options. The average gym membership costs a little under $60 a month, but it provides you access to every type of workout imaginable, including group classes. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that two-thirds of all gym memberships go unused. Gyms are very aware of this too, with a 2016 report saying gyms consider their perfect customer to be “people who intend to work out, but don’t.” If you’re going to a bare bones gym that only charges $10 or $20 a month, that may not be a big hit financially. But if you’re paying much more than that, then you need to start hitting the gym at least a couple of times per week. If getting in shape isn’t enough motivation, remind yourself that the gym is still getting the same amount of money regardless of whether you go three times a week or three times a year.