If you are an aging adult considering joining a gym, you may be wondering if you’ll stick-out like a sore thumb. Be assured that this won’t be the case. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sports club Association, more than 11 million Americans ages 55 and over have gym memberships.
If this is your first time joining a gym, it’s advisable to visit several different options in your area to see what feels like the best fit for you and your needs.
You should also talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Consider the following tips as you explore you fitness club options:
- When you visit, ask if you can take a tour of the entire facility, including exercise rooms, locker rooms, restrooms, and if applicable, the swimming areas. Check for red flags such as multiple pieces of broken equipment or a dirty locker room. A reputable gym takes pride in its facilities and repairs broken equipment quickly.
- Really try to soak in the atmosphere while you are touring and see if it is one that makes you feel comfortable. For example, if you prefer to workout in sweats, and you notice everyone around you is dressed in designer workout gear, that particular gym might not be the right place for you.
- Consider the proximity of the gym to your home or office and what commute time will be like at the days and times you will be visiting.
- Ask if the gym offers any personal training or special classes for new members who wish to learn how to use the equipment properly.
- If you are interested in taking fitness courses offered by the gym, check to make sure the times of day they are offered are convenient to your schedule.
- Ask about the monthly fees involved, what the fees cover, and by what methods you can pay the fees. Inquire about contract length and what penalties you will incur if you wish to cancel your membership early.
- Find out if it’s possible to try the gym out for a week for free before signing a contract. When you do decide to sign a contract, be sure to read it thoroughly and make sure it covers everything you have discussed with the sales representative.
Above all, you should absolutely not feel pressured to sign a contract. Much like with other major contract purchases, be prepared to stand up and walk away if things do not feel right.