Why you might be better off exercising at a gym than at home

The benefits of working out at a gym, including workout partners and a variety of exercise equipment, may outweigh the convenience of working out at home. Valley News/Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – Routine exercise benefits minds and bodies in various ways. Studies have shown that physical activity can improve mood and lower people’s risk for various diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
As beneficial as exercise can be, many people simply don’t make physical activity part of their regular routines. Recent studies and reports from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and from Statistics Canada, conducted separately from each other, found that roughly 80% of adults in both the U.S. and Canada are not meeting the minimum physical activity requirements recommended by their respective governments. While a host of factors can influence a person’s decisions on physical activity, where to exercise is one factor that could go a long way toward determining just how much adults exercise.

Basements, attics, spare bedrooms or two-car garages may seem like the perfect places to create home gyms. However, the benefits of working out at a gym may outweigh the convenience of working out at home.

Workout partners and other gym members may improve their chances of losing weight. People who exercise at home tend to work out alone. In so doing, they may be removing a potentially strong motivator that could keep them exercising. A 2016 study published in the research journal Obesity found that increasing contacts and interactions with thinner individuals, and declining contacts and interactions with heavier individuals, were linked to actual weight loss. In other words, working out with a fit friend or simply interacting with fellow gym members who maintain healthy weights can benefit people who are trying to lose weight through exercise.

Gym memberships have a way of paying for themselves. The cost of a gym membership is one factor many people cite as a reason for not exercising more. However, many health insurance plans now offer sweat equity rebates that reward policy holders for working out. Such rebates can greatly reduce the cost of a gym membership, if not remove it entirely. For example, a sweat equity program that offers a $200 rebate every six months for policy holders who exercise 50 times during that period can make a $30 monthly gym membership free. In that example, gym members would pay $180 for six months but get all of that money back if they work out 50 times in a six-month period.

Gyms can make it easier to diversify their workouts. Exercise boredom is something even the most ardent fitness enthusiast can relate to. Exercise boredom refers to the disinterest that can develop over time as people do the same workouts for weeks, months or years at a time. A home gym may not be spacious enough to include too many machines, whereas gyms typically include enough machines and classes to allow people to diversify their workouts as often as they’d like.

Working out at home may be convenient, but people looking to make exercise part of their daily routines may get better results by exercising at a nearby gym.