How to Choose a Fitness Center

| August 25, 2012

Fitness center spinning classA fitness center can be your key to getting in shape, but finding the right one based on your needs and hopes can be a balancing act. Don’t forget to check out DexKnows gyms for fitness centers in your community.

Decide on your goals

The first step is to figure out your goals. Do you want to improve your health, lose weight or better prepare for a specific sport?

Do you want to swim or do yoga? Do you want the latest cardiovascular machines or is a treadmill enough to make you happy? Are you out to build your strength, improve your flexibility, or just stick with a workout plan? Decide what you’re after, suggests WebMD.com.

Certified personal trainer Lynn VanDyke told WebMD.com that people who are after variety should choose a gym with lots of machines and classes. If you aren’t interested in that, don’t pay for what you won’t be using.

Visit your choices

By going to the facility, you know whether it’s convenient. If you plan to go from home, find a place near where you live. If you may head over on your lunch break, choose someplace close to work. The drive will let you know how much time you have to set aside to get there and back.

You want to tour the fitness centers. Are the floors and locker rooms cleaned? How well do they clean the equipment? You can also see if they have the equipment you want as well as other features, including music or TVs.

Consider your likes and dislikes

Think about what activities you like. Do you love aerobics or dancing? Do you hate running?

As you do your search, find facilities that offer classes and activities that match your likes. If you’re interested in a certain activity, you are more likely to stick with a fitness routine.

MayoClinic.com also suggests varying activities so you don’t get bored as easily with one activity or overuse a specific muscle or joint.

Check credentials

Ask about credentials. If staff will be showing you how to use the machines, seek proof that they are qualified to offer that instruction.

Using machines the wrong way can lead to injuries, and there’s nothing like a pulled muscle to dampen your enthusiasm for getting fit. You want to find a gym with qualified staff who can explain how to use the equipment safely and lead you through the equipment and activities that best fit your goals.

Try it out first

Some gyms offer a trial membership, while others may charge a fee to try them out. It’s worth paying the fee rather than joining a place and quickly finding it isn’t the right fit for you.

Visit the fitness center at the time of day when you expect to use it. You want to see if the equipment you want to use is available at that time or if you are likely to have a long wait.

Think emergencies

WebMD.com cautions to make sure your chosen fitness center has safety and emergency procedures in place. That includes an automated external defibrillator or AED that can help save you in a life-threatening situation such as heart trouble.

You also want a staff educated in first aid and capable of helping you find the help you need if seriously injured. Paperwork often includes a section on your family physician, dentist and hospital of choice. Make sure to fill this out correctly and completely.

Remember price

Your goals should not be the only deciding factor when choosing a gym. Make sure the fitness center also offers a plan that fits your budget. Are classes included in the cost, and if not, how much extra do they cost? If you aren’t after a variety of equipment or classes, then you don’t need to find a facility with all of those amenities.

Keep this advice in mind as you scan through the DexKnows gyms page to find one in your community.

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Category: Fitness Centers & Gyms, Health & Fitness

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Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.