Doing something you love - like dancing - will keep you moving no matter what.

So You Can’t Make Yourself Go to the Gym: What to Do

Do you have a gym membership you rarely use? Maybe it’s the gym’s fault, not yours! It happens to all of us; with the best of intentions we sign up for a gym membership, then find we never use it. But we keep paying the bill every month, feeling guilty and promising ourselves that next month will be different. Or maybe we give up and let our membership lapse altogether.

So let’s try a different approach. Ask yourself a few questions:  Do you like your gym? Is it a nice environment? Does it smell bad? Are you comfortable around the other people who go there? Or do you feel self-conscious? Is it convenient to your home or work? If the answer to any of these questions is no, here are some suggestions for finding a gym that’s right for you.

Don’t Let Cost Be the Main Factor

In my work as a health coach, I find that many people will throw away $40 a month on a gym they won’t use rather than pay $80 a month for the one they will go to and will actually enjoy using! Once you’ve committed to spending the money on a gym, it’s often worth spending a little more to get the one you want.

Location, Location, Location

Let’s face it–if your gym is halfway across town or in the opposite direction from your work, you’re way less likely to go. Choose one near your home or work instead. Extra points if it’s on your way to and from work so you pass right by. Also, check to see if low-cost parking is available, or if it’s convenient to public transportation. Even better if your gym is within walking distance! Lastly, make sure it’s in a safe neighborhood so you feel comfortable going in the evening or early morning.

Ask Your Friends Where They Go

Chances are, your friends belong to a gym or are thinking about joining. So why not join together? Doing a workout circuit or meeting for a cardio class can be a fun way to catch up. And if your gym has a pool, jacuzzi, or steam room so much the better. Some gyms even have lounges, cafes, or juice bars where you can catch up with friends–or make new ones–over a glass of iced tea or a smoothie.

Consider Alternative Options

Maybe you don’t want to belong to a gym at all; instead you want to sign up for a fitness activity or class. Signing up for a Zumba class at your local community center can give you all the benefits of a gym workout in a much looser environment. Yoga, Pilates, dance, and martial arts are more examples of fabulous fitness activities that typically take place in a studio, school, community center, or other more casual environment.

Heatherose Pitman is a licensed physical therapist whose passion is motivating people to make healthy lifestyle changes. As a Fitness Health Coach in the Health Education Department at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Heatherose works one on one with patients helping them meet their personal fitness goals. Her specialties include exercise physiology, strength training, and manual therapy techniques.