Did you join a gym this past winter, looking for a way to exercise and avoid cold and wet weather? According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), over 50 million Americans (16%) have an active gym membership. Perhaps there would be a spike in memberships if more people considered the potential long-term financial benefits to joining a gym.3
It isn’t a surprise that exercise helps you feel better and stay healthier. But when you consider the costs associated with disease as you approach middle age, you start to get a perspective on how important an active lifestyle can be not just for your body, but your finances as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are clear that developing a physical fitness regimen decreases your chances of not just obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, but also strengthens your body by decreasing bone density loss, mitigates symptoms of arthritis, and improves mental health. Any one of those factors, on its own, could become a severe drain on your financial resources.4
Where a gym comes into the picture is that it provides you with a place to focus on your fitness routine. While it’s perfectly fine to go jogging, you may not want to go jogging every day or in certain weather. It’s also okay to work out in your home, but the responsibilities and diversions waiting for you there might be distracting. The CDC is clear that the amount of time you’re exercising matters; those who are active as much as 7 hours a week are 40% more likely to enjoy a longer life. You don’t have to become a “gym rat,” of course; the CDC is clear that even 2½ hours of aerobic activity of “moderate-intensity” each week is enough to make a distinct improvement.4
Michael Moffitt may be reached at 641-782-5577 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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3 – sharecare.com/health/gyms-health-clubs/what-percent-americans-health-clubs 
4 – cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm [6/4/2015]