Updated: Feb 21, 2019
There's a curious stigma around gym membership for some people, who can see being a gym-goer as being one step removed from being a member of a cult.
Can you imagine!
Meanwhile, for those dedicated gym members who seem to spend all their free time and energy working the floor and towelling down every Nautilus machine seat, not being a member of gym can appear to be synonymous with total laziness.
Most people, however (and rather thankfully), take a more balanced and nuanced position on the supposed social cache and benefits of being a member of a gym and/or regularly using its facilities.
Even if for only a couple of times a week.
But can you also get fit and maintain a healthy body outside of the gym walls?
After all, don't you need all those lovely shiny and sometimes slightly complicated machines and racks of dumb bells to have an effective work out?
In my experience it is perfectly possible to exercise effectively outside of a gym (in a park, a hotel room, or at home, for example) and to use the myriad of resources out there (particularly online) to structure and maintain a solid work out that delivers measurable results.
How and why?
Because techniques can be learned, exercise routines adapted and the human body can be reasonably exercised (even if only from taking a stroll across town) to deliver results.
You would be amazed how beneficial an adventurous walking of the family dog can be, for example!
Where gyms do come into their own, beyond their access to equipment (and the occasional thumping EDM) is in the social support they can give. Having access to advice, encouragement and friendship with a group of people from different backgrounds and with different levels of knowledge can help build any workout and lessen the risk of injury.
They can also help gym members to recognise the gains they are making and to then build on them.
So, whenever I am asked if gym membership is needed to get and stay fit I always reply 'Not necessarily,but it certainly helps.’ Especially if joining a sports team of some kind (such as an amateur rugby team) is also not an option.
Though don't get me started on that particular subject!