My friend K thinks that “gym” is a swear word! But I (sort of) enjoy it.
Joining the gym was one of the first things I did on moving to T. I had been going to gyms for about 15 years but had to give a month’s notice in M so hadn’t been since the end of September. On going back to the one in T, I found a staff member who remembered me after 7 years – not sure if that is a good thing or not!
Why join a gym?
When I was working, I originally joined as a way to reduce stress. After retirement it provided something to do (!) and was a way of keeping moderately fit. There is greater security than going for a run or a cycle ride; you can vary your distance without having to get back to your start point and the weather is not a factor – except when the roof leaked above me on a very wet day!
By going at the same times each week, I get to see the same people and so can get to know them and gain more acquaintances/friends.
How to choose a gym.
Go and have a look at all the possibles, at the time(s) you are likely to go. The idea is to look what sort of people are there. If they are all young, slim, fit and very hard working I would choose somewhere else! Try looking for people with a variety of ages and shapes and effort and gear. I don’t work excessively hard or take it that seriously but there are people there who are pushed to walk for 10 minutes, others who work really hard and seriously and get up a real sweat and those who go for a chat and minimum exercise It is the variety that is good.
Look at the facilities – changing rooms, showers, sauna and/or steam room (if you like those) and see what sort of state they are in. Choose later in the day, not first thing, to get a real idea. Also consider whether you care if the facilities are mixed or if you would want separate male and female ones.
I have always been to the local authority gym, but there are more exclusive places. I suspect you get what you pay for, so do enquire about the prices and discounts for age or off-peak times. Some places have a joining fee, so look at the cost of that and see what you get for it. There should certainly be an induction and the setting of a programme and maybe a T-shirt and/or water bottle. And don’t sign up for a year until you are sure you will use it! Read the small print!!
They should give you an induction i.e. show you how to use the machines. Most places will also set a programme for you as part of the induction or part of the joining fee. If you overstate or tell the truth about your fitness, the programme will probably be too hard! You can always do less and you will find that you do improve and reach the level suggested. The alternative is to understate your fitness or say how exhausted you are after a very short time on any machine during the induction!
You don’t have to do every machine! It is worth trying them all, then you can find your favourites – I go for upright bike, cross-trainer and (my favourite by far) running. You will be surprised how you do improve and can do longer at a harder level if you go twice or more a week.
How to keep going!
Yes, this can be a problem! There are days when you just don’t feel like it, but the less you go the less you feel like going. It is (usually) not as bad as you think it will be when you actually get there.
I wouldn’t go every day – this is excessive and you will quickly get fed up and give up. Be realistic about what you are likely to do. Most retirees go two or three times a week, although a few go 4 or 5 times. Don’t overdo it – it is supposed to be fun(!!!) or at least moderately good for you. I even find that a bit of running can make me feel better.
Some people think having a “gym buddy” is a good move, but then it does tend to be that if one of you doesn’t feel like it you both don’t go and it doesn’t take long to stop. As I said, going at the same time each week and getting to know people works better for me.
Having been going for a while, I signed up for a year and then if I don’t go I don’t get my money’s worth and being mean, that matters! The showers there are better than mine too, so it is a good place to wash my hair and they provide a free hair-dryer – saving money again!
Recommended, if you don’t get carried away!