Having just devoured the Thanksgiving turkey, and looking forward to holiday shopping, many of us are looking at our waistlines, cholesterol levels, and wallets, wondering: what to do now?
Sure, joining a health club is a great idea – exercise, swimming, nutrition education – but who has the time and, just as critical, who has the money?
Believe it or not, now’s a great time to gym shop, you just need to do your homework. Many fitness clubs offer great incentives this time of year, it‘s a matter of tracking them down.
In a recent article for Market Watch, Kristen Gerencher tells us that “shopping for a gym during the last weeks of the year can yield surprising discounts -- if you know how to ask. At Curves International, the company is pushing franchisees to waive their monthly fees through the end of the year for women who sign up for a year's contract before January.”
Saving money’s not the only reason to consider joining a fitness club, though; "(d)uring the holidays when everyone's stressed out and pressed for time, if you're working out you'll sleep better, have more energy."
On the other hand, after Christmas sales work as well in the health club industry as the toy store. The folks at Gold’s Gym offer their best deals in January, as consumers look for ways to implement those New Year’s resolutions. According to Gold’s spokesman Dave Reiseman, "January is to the gym business what December is to the retail business.”
In fact, even if the club you’d like to join isn’t officially offering any deals, it never hurts to ask for one, anyway. By negotiating, you may be able to save the equivalent of a month’s – or even several months’ – fees.
Another favorite club gambit is the ‘bring a friend’ sale. For example, Bally’s pre-Christas offer is a free one-year gift membership for a friend to anyone who signs up for a 3-year contract.
But saving money is only one benefit. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, folks who get off the couch, and engage in moderate to high levels of physical activity, can add almost 4 years to their lives by delaying heart disease. And the Centers for Disease Control says that “(a)dults should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days.” The benefits include not just weight loss, but also reduced risk of depression, osteoporosis, even arthritis.
And if the year-end (or year-beginning) deals at the health club still don’t fit your budget, they’re not the only game in town: according to the CDC, walking or biking, walking the dog, even gardening (next spring) can contribute to your good health.