Sometimes it’s difficult to notice the changes that are happening to our bodies and spirits when we begin a fitness routine. Being over 50 has taught me patience and I know that there is no overnight miracle success to getting and staying in shape but still I’d like to have some way of reassuring myself that the time and effort, (not to mention the sweat and tears) is paying off and that I am step by step “getting there.”
When we first embark on a fitness journey it isn’t long before our friends and family can see the changes in us, often times even before we can see it ourselves. This can keep us motivated to continue on. I mean who doesn’t like a little praise every now and then? But after a while the pats on the back stop coming and that’s when we have to find other ways to stay motivated.
I’ve found that keeping a fitness journal helps me to stay on point. When I’m wondering if I’m really making any progress I can always look back a month or so and see that I’ve increased the time that I can stay on the bike or elliptical machine without tiring or that I have added a few more pounds or reps to the weight that I can lift. True these gains may not be as easy to see to others but I know just how much effort I’ve put into being fit and that is always enough to lift my spirits and make me look forward to the next workout.
Over the years I’ve lived in and traveled to many different places and whenever I found myself in any one place for any longer than I week I usually felt the need to locate a gym or fitness center. Luckily most gyms offer either a short term rate or even a free trial membership. This has given me the opportunity to go inside a lot of different facilities and I’d like to share with you what in my opinion makes some better than the rest.
Although the other items in this article are in no particular order this first item, Cleanliness, is at the very top of the list. Most places will look clean at first glance but make sure that the locker rooms are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. Are there dirty towels lying around? Does it pass the sniff test? Are the mirror’s clean? The waste bins over-flowing.
In the workout areas does the facility provide sani-wipes to wipe down the equipment after each use? This is extremely important as most germs are transfered by hand contact. Oh and don’t forget to bring your shower shoes if you’ll be showering at the gym after your workout.
Equipment Condition and Availabilty
Is the equipment maintained and in good condition. Serious injury could occur by using faulty gym machines. Are there enough machines, barbells, and floor space for you to work out? I hate it when I have to wait for 20 or 30 minutes to get on an exercise bike or there is a line waiting to use a particular machine. I like to get in the gym, do my thing and get out. I know that for some it’s a good place to mingle and socialize and I have nothing against that but for me it’s all about the workout and getting fit. Which brings me to my next item.
Just because I don’t socialize at the gym doesn’t mean that I like a Spartan, no-nonsense type atmosphere. A lot of gyms have T.V.’s in them now and I’ve often been able to catch up on the news or watch a ball game while riding the bike or elliptical machine. I’ve also met some really nice people and even made a few good friends at me local gym. I think the atmosphere and tone is set by the management and staff which is important.
I’ve seen good gyms that could be a lot better if they had staff that understood the importance of good service. Instead of being out on the gym floor and available they hover around the main desk and seem to be more involved with each other than the gym patrons. The best staff is well trained in the latest in physical fitness and eager to help you reach your goals. I like the ones that are like good waitresses at a diner. Not always asking how they can help but seem to have a sixth sense about knowing when they’re needed.
Okay, I admit that now that I’m over 50 I think of these things but then again this blog IS about fitness over 50 and I have actually seen the availability of a heart defibrillator possibly save the life of one man at a gym. Wouldn’t have thought about it before that incident but now it’s one of the tings that I look for.
So what do you think is a must have for the right gym?