Do You Join a Gym Just to Lose Weight?
by Tala Stephens
June 2012— Why should someone join a gym or hire a personal trainer? Most people would guess that the goal is to lose weight. But while that’s a common goal, an even more common one is the desire to move more easily while doing daily activities — to move through the day with less pain.
There are many benefits to exercising using a balanced routine including cardio, resistance training and stretching. Here are just some of them, based on information from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America:
Benefits of Cardiorespiratory Fitness
• Reduction in coronary heart disease risk factors
• Decreased anxiety and depression
• Enhanced feelings of well-being
• Enhanced performance of work and sport activities
• Improved sleep
Benefits of Flexibility Training
• Decreased risk of injury
• Decreased low-back pain
• Improved posture
• Decreased stress
Benefits of Muscular Fitness
• Increased bone density
• Increased strength of connective tissue
• Increased physical work capacity
• Improved quality of life
Want an example of just how much exercising can change your life? Read the answers to some questions I posed to Joanne Shwed, who’s been training since February 9, 2010.
Q: Why did you use a trainer instead of just joining a gym?
A: Since I never exercised regularly before, and since I had back surgery, I was always afraid of hurting myself, doing the wrong exercises, and possibly doing too much. I knew that I would not go to a gym on my own without having accountability to someone keeping an eye on me.
Q: How has working out regularly changed your life and your daily activities?
A: Since I started working out regularly, my day-to-day life has changed dramatically for the better. I can now lift grocery bags more easily, and bend without much effort to reach the pots and pans in the lower cupboards. I feel more energetic and limber. Getting myself to exercise regularly was one of the biggest hurdles in my life. Contrary to what I thought would happen, I am getting better as I get older!
Q: How has it affected your relationships?
A: I can now take longer walks with my husband without pooping out, help more with cleaning chores, have more energy for our life together, and be in a better mood. I am very proud of myself and he is proud of me, too.
Q: What results did you see — both expected and unexpected?
A: I am able to keep my weight down as I experience menopause. My sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation blood numbers have improved. I am having fun (who would have thought?) and actually look forward to the training sessions. The workouts are enjoyable and no exercises hurt me. I am usually not sore the day after a training session, and I find it easier than ever before to exercise on my own. My intellectual process about exercise has shifted to the positive.
So if you’re not moving through your days as easily as you’d like to, consider developing a regular workout routine. You’ll be amazed how much it can help.
On the Web:
Tala Stephens is a personal trainer working out of her private studio in Pacifica. Visit her website at www.talafitness.com.