Even if you’re not interested in bulging biceps or a slim beach body, a gym provides a variety of benefits to improve and maintain your personal health. Regular exercise can strengthen your heart, improve your blood cholesterol, increase flexibility, improve your sleep, reduce stress and increase your endurance.
Improved Heart Health
Regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart, reducing your resting heart rate and increasing your heart’s ability to pump blood. In addition to reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke, cardio workouts at the gym can help boost your good cholesterol levels, according to the MayoCliniccom. Using a cardio machine, the swimming pool or track or joining an exercise class, you can exercise at moderate or vigorous intensities to meet the American Heart Association’s recommended weekly guidelines for exercise.
Physical activity burns calories. Coupled with a diet plan, gym workouts can help you meet daily targets for a calorie deficit that helps you lose weight. Many cardio machines at a gym offer calorie calculators that let you know how long you need to exercise to meet your calorie goal, or show you how many calories you burned after your workout. Wearing a personal heart rate monitor while you use the gym will let you see how using weight machines, participating in a class or doing other activities affects your calorie burn.
When you go to a gym, you have an opportunity to ask other members or gym staff questions about how to use machines or equipment, how to properly perform exercises and what type of workouts will help you best meet your goals. You can transfer much of this information to your home workouts, improving your ability to meet your goals when you can’t make it to the gym.
Improves Muscles and Bones
Depending on the amount of resistance you use and number of repetitions you perform, you can build your muscle size, strength and endurance. You don’t have to lift heavy weights to improve your endurance or your ability to use your muscles over time. Even moderate resistance settings or amounts of weights will help you build muscle if you perform your exercises slowly and with proper technique. Exercise and post-workout stretching also help improve your muscle flexibility. Resistance and weight-bearing exercise also help improve bone density, according to the University of Arizona’s Bone Builders program.
Improves Neuromotor Functions
In addition to building muscle and losing weight, gym workouts can help you improve or maintain your balance, gait and agility. A key benefit of a gym is the variety of equipment it offers, letting you work out using different footwork, speed, agility and balance movements.
Joining a gym adds a social element that can help motivate you to work harder to meet your goals. Spending money on a fitness center membership might also get you out of the house more often because you don’t want to feel you’ve wasted your money.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.