Exercise is good for you. The health benefits of exercise include weight control, help overcoming disease and health concerns, improved mood, increased energy, better sleep and – most importantly – exercise is fun.
To enjoy your time working out and to fully realize the benefits, however, you need to follow through.
Establishing a workout routine is often easier said than done. Life gets in the way, and if you are busy juggling family, career, your education or any other number of time-consuming life activities, it can be hard to take the time you need to take care of yourself.
A critical step when embarking on an exercise program is to set yourself up for success by establishing a routine that you know you’ll be able to stick to. An important factor in this decision is where you will exercise. When trying to choose whether to work out at home or a gym, consider the following:
To stick to a routine, you may need someone to help keep you in line and on track. If so, group exercise may be your best bet. To help maintain accountability to someone other than yourself, opt for a regularly scheduled class rather than going for a-la-cart or drop-in classes, or join a gym or exercise program with a friend or group of friends.
If you can cover it financially, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to hire a personal trainer. Many personal trainers will come to your home if you opt to work out there, but most gyms offer payment plans for personal training packages.
If you are easily distracted and have kids at home, it may be best to get out of the house to exercise. On that same note, if you have difficulty making decisions when faced with too many options, such as too many choices of exercise equipment or classes, it may be better for you to work out at home.
If you prefer to walk, run or bike, you may find that working out at home is the easy choice. If swimming is your passion and you don’t have a pool, you’ll need to join a facility with lap swimming hours that fit into your schedule. Often, it can be most beneficial to strike a balance between home and gym—or organized—physical activity by joining a running or swim club.
Joining a walking or running group with other moms—strollers and little ones in tow—or registering for local walks, runs or triathlons is a great way to give yourself a goal to work towards and provides opportunities to meet others who share your passion.
Variety may be the spice of life for some, while others like to stick with the tried and true. If you need to change things up to stay motivated, a gym may be your best option since you’ll have many types of equipment and programs to choose from.
Public vs. Private
If you don’t feel comfortable working out with, or in front of, others, you may want to invest in equipment or work-out videos you know you’ll enjoy at home. If you need help setting up a routine for yourself, consider the occasional private session with a personal trainer.
Carving out time for yourself can be a challenge, especially if you are constantly taking care of the needs of others. Working out at home during nap time or before everyone gets up in the morning may work for some, while others find it is best to get out of the house to work out. Regardless of where you exercise, finding a routine that works for you is key.