Brenda Lyle – Florida Today
Q: Is exercising at home as good as going to the gym? I’m new to this.
A: When it comes to exercising, the choice between going to a gym or working out at home can depend on various factors. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I commend you for moving forward with the decision to exercise! Getting your doctor’s okay before starting a new regimen is always recommended. Let’s compare the gym-based exercise experience to the home workout.
What’s at the gym?
A lot! Gyms offer a wide range of fitness equipment, group exercise classes and personal training, allowing for a variety of exercise across all skill levels. This variety not only keeps workouts interesting, but includes opportunities to make friends. A gym community provides a sense of camaraderie and social connection, which can help keep you motivated and accountable! Qualified trainers (usually extra $$) can also motivate –and provide personalized guidance and expertise.
Is there a downside?
Getting to the gym requires some travel time (and transportation). You’ll need to work within the gym’s open hours and class schedules. And a crowded gym environment means exposure to germs; a concern that must be weighed by seniors with certain medical conditions. Cost? In 2023, GoodRx.com put the average price of gym memberships “somewhere between $40 and $70 per month, depending on the location and other factors.” Luckily, many of the Medicare Advantage Plans (and even ordinary health insurance policies) now offer free or discounted gym memberships.
A home workout?
Home workouts offer the convenience of exercising anytime, anywhere, without the need for travel! Pocket the monthly membership fee, slip on a pair of sneakers and lock the front door before setting off on a nice walk. Or flip on a movie and start pedaling your exercise bike. Online yoga, Pilates and senior fitness classes abound on YouTube. Create your own exercise plan! Home workouts may be preferable for individuals with limited mobility or disabilities and can also be appealing to those who feel uncomfortable exercising in public.
You know yourself. How likely are you to stick with home exercise? Will you set meaningful goals and push yourself to achieve them? Can you carve out a physical space for exercise in your home? Are you tech savvy enough to program your exercise equipment?
The choice of whether to exercise at home or at the gym is a personal one and includes such factors as individual preferences, convenience, availability of equipment, transportation, time and budget. Whatever you choose, getting some exercise is always better than none. Now get moving!
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.