what to do when you've joined a fitness center

by Pam George

Well if you are new to exercising or you have been off for a time you shouldn’t just jump into the hardest, most advanced thing there is. You are going to ask your body to do more than it has in quite some time. Your body can adapt to change, but the change needs to be slow and consistent.You need to have a plan, a place to start, and a goal as to where you want to end up.

You need to ask yourself what you are planning to achieve.

Cardio machines are lined up around the room in all different shapes and sizes. Which one should you try first? There are resistance machines and dumbbells galore. Do you just hop on any one of them? And what is that room with the straps hanging for?

The group exercise schedule is loaded with classes, but which one should you do first? If you are a younger member you have your Youtube videos on your phone ready to go. The latest and greatest fit body is telling you what and how to do some really great moves. You are determined and ready to dive into this with a gusto. If you are middle aged maybe you are still doing the same exercise you have been doing for years, and if you are a senior with little use for technology, you may have read in the paper that there is a senior program, but you have no idea what that is.

You are not required to receive help when you join a fitness center, but that is the very thing you should do. Advice on what level to start is critical for injury prevention. Designing a plan will help you progress and achieve your goals. Learning the correct setting on the cardio machines will keep you safe and allow you the options to use multiple machines to keep your progression on track and boredom at bay. Instruction and correct settings on the resistance machines is a must. The wrong position or use of this equipment can end up in injury. Dumbbells require even more know how due to the need for stabilization and alignment. Advice on which class to try first will keep you from attending the wrong level for your current ability. If you are using a youtube video you cannot see your own form or know that there is a modification for the exercise being shown or that you are trying an exercise that is at high risk for your current fitness level. If you have been attending the same class or walking on the same treadmill for years it’s time for an update to your current program. If you are a senior it is imperative you seek advice to assess any limitations you currently have and to keep you injury free.

With your goals in hand and a little perseverance the fitness center is a great place to find the results you’re looking for. Our YMCA is dedicated to your health and well being and years of continued support for all your goals. We offer free initial orientations and paid personal training if you like the idea of personal help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the staff. We are invested in your success.