After recently getting my driver’s license, I took a drive to the local YMCA. My intention was to workout and use some machines that I don’t have access to at home. I accomplished my intention while becoming interested in why and what people use the gym over home fitness.

Normally I see many young people or people around my age at the YMCA, but according to Credit Donkey, the average age of people that go to the gym is 40 years old. That being said, much of this high average age is due to group workout classes at the gym such as Zumba, yoga, barre, kickboxing, etc. Many adults tend to engage in these and 2 out of 5 health club members are involved in a group workout class.

The number of health club members around the United States is continuing to rise and currently stands at just over 50 million. You would think the reason for choosing a gym membership would be the quality of equipment or access to personal trainers, but the top reason is the proximity to wherever one lives. I mean a home gym is even closer, but the equipment for that can begin to break the bank.

Sometimes a membership can break the bank too. People that paid per visit (~$10) are generally able to save more money that those with a membership. If you’re paying for a $70/month membership, but only go to the gym four times that month, you’re paying an extra $30 than you could’ve paid if you paid per visit. However, many gyms won’t let you pay per visit or use the gym unless you have a membership or are accompanying a guest.

If you are considering getting a gym membership, don’t start at the beginning of the year. New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or to use the gym more flush people’s minds causing the gym to become very crowded during January and February. Consider holding your membership off until the end of February or even March because 14% of the resolution seekers stop attending the gym by the end of February. By waiting, you’ll be able to find that open spot on the treadmill with no line!

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