By Joli Guenther, MSSW, NASM
When it comes to sticking to (or starting) your exercise
routine, using your home exercise equipment is the most convenient workout available. You don't have to pack a bag, travel to the health
club, or share your shower with a roomful of strangers. Here are a few other reasons you might choose
to stay away from the gym this January.
Crowded Facilities With
the New Year comes lots of new faces.
January is the biggest month of the year for gym membership sales. While most of these folks will be AWOL by the end of February, health clubs will be
working at or near their capacity during peak times throughout the winter. This means that you can end up waiting for a
machine, dealing with time limits that prevent you from getting a full workout,
and sharing equipment with the sneezing, sweating guy next to you.
On Display While a
select few seem to enjoy the feeling of being watched while they workout, when
you're in the middle of the gym floor, it's easy to feel self conscious. No one likes learning to operate a new
machine in front of everyone else there, especially when those people are
keeping track of whether you've exceeded the 30 minute limit. There's also the coordination of learning
your best stride on an elliptical or treadmill (admit it, we've all tripped
over our own feet on that moving belt).
Germs While we try to
keep it under control, it's no secret that "health" clubs are petri
dishes for the germs and viruses that circulate during cold and flu
season. Sweaty machines and towels, damp
locker room floors, and drafty entries are just a few of the ways that germs
get passed around.
Etiquette: Too much
cologne, body odor, or the smell of the burrito your neighbor had for lunch can
really detract from your workout.
Another favorite is the neighbor who sprays the equipment and treats
everyone in the vicinity to a disinfecting shower. A friend of mine also shared a story about an
unusual request that he not clean his equipment since the next user enjoyed the
sweat on the machine…ummm…okay.
Weigh in: Do you have a funny, embarrassing, or
distasteful health club story that motivates you to use your home gym? We'd love to hear it!