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Exercise Equipment or...

Exercise Equipment or a Gym Membership: Which Option Is Right for You?

While there are plenty of ways to work out for free, having a gym membership or home exercise equipment comes in handy during the cold winter months and brutal summer heat. 

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You can always take a jog through your neighborhood to stay healthy and tone up, but when you have to deal with extreme weather conditions like ice and snow, it might be time to decide whether you should invest in home exercise equipment or a gym membership. Both options come with perks, but it can be hard to decide which choice is better for you. Here are our pros and cons of each option so you can make a decision your thighs will thank you for later.

Should You Buy Home Exercise Equipment?
Having your own home exercise equipment means you can work out when you want, without interruption or distractions. If you have a television nearby, you get to pick what you watch during workouts. When you're always in a hurry and don't have time to commute to a gym, at-home equipment is a good option. You can get in a quick workout before work—and even have time to shower before you hit the road. If you like to work out alone to get in the zone, at-home equipment works well.

On the flip side, when you work out at home regularly with no social interaction, it's easy to get bored. Unless you're going to purchase a variety of gym equipment, you may find yourself doing the same workouts all the time when you're at home—which can lead to burnout and fatigue, not to mention that your muscles will start to get used to your workout and you won't see the results you're craving.

Should You Buy a Gym Membership?
You might enjoy a gym membership if you are social, enjoy being around people, like group exercise classes, enjoy water workouts, or prefer changing up your workout routine often. Varying your workout program helps alleviate boredom and prevents physical plateaus, according to the American Council on Exercise. Gyms are stocked with a wide variety of cardiovascular and resistance equipment, which means you can change up your workout daily to get the results you want. Gyms also come with a wide variety of #fitspiration so that even on your toughest days, you'll be pushed to be your best by everyone else at the gym.

Of course, getting to the gym each day may seem like a chore, especially if you have to drive a long distance to get there. If you prefer working out alone without interruption, you may start to dread the gym. Furthermore, if you hit the gym during peak hours, you may have to wait a while to get on the machine you want—or not get to use it at all. If you enjoy watching TV during workouts, you might get stuck watching shows you despise. Additionally, gyms can be full of germs and people who are sick, so you run the risk of catching something.

Price Comparisons
In the long run, prices of gym memberships versus at-home exercise equipment are comparable. Monthly gym memberships costs often range from $20 to $80 per month for one person (averaging about $600 per year), depending on which gym you choose. Many gyms also charge you an enrollment fee when your first sign up. You can purchase a brand-new treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine for as little as $300, but you might pay close to $3,000 for a higher-quality (new or used) machine. Dumbbell weights usually cost between $5 and $50 per weight, depending on how heavy it is.

Best Option
Ultimately, whether you should purchase a gym membership or home exercise equipment really depends on your personality and workout preferences. Long term, you may save time and money by purchasing home equipment. However, it's best to pick the option that allows you to work out regularly, get the results you want, enjoy exercising, and avoid being bored.

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