When a person is in dire financial straits, the first expenses which are cut from the budget are those which are not essential to a person’s daily life. While it is true that today’s society has a radically different perspective on what “essential” means, when faced with a crisis that requires us to take a little deeper look, we begin to cut the extras from our budgets. Often, a gym membership falls into the “extra” category and it gets cut.
I understand this. In order to turn around a bad situation, it is essential to focus your finances solely on the things that matter, such as food, shelter, electricity, etc. A person is able to go for a walk without paying a membership fee each month. It doesn’t cost anything to do a couple of hundred push ups on your living room floor. There is no need for a Stair Master when you are hiking up and down the stairs in your house.
At least that is what we tell ourselves when we cancel our memberships. We assure ourselves that we don’t need a gym membership because we can do everything at home without the extra cost. Everything is great! An extra $30 is freed up for use elsewhere in the budget and now we will start our exercise routine at home tomorrow. But we don’t.
Our good intentions fall victim to excuses. Those Pilates DVDs that we bought a year ago were used once, and even though we told ourselves that we were going to use them again now that we are working out at home, we still haven’t touched them. The treadmill in the spare room gets more use as a clothes hanger than an exercise machine. Exercising at home just doesn’t happen, whether it is because there are too many distractions or we simply cannot find the motivation to move the coffee table to do yoga, it just doesn’t work.
Now that you’ve cut your exercise expenses and are no longer exercising, what is it costing you? At first glance, you might think it is costing you nothing and you’re even saving yourself $30 a month, right? Wrong.
By not exercising you are increasing your risk of health problems such as cancer, heart attack and diabetes. Exercise is also proven to reduce anxiety and stress, increase energy and fight symptoms of depression.
What about your quality of life? A sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain and obesity. Climbing that flight of stairs becomes a real challenge. Forget about climbing a mountain, it is hard enough carrying the groceries into the house. What are you missing out on as a result of your physical condition? How many quality years are you losing at the end of life?
How much do these ailments cost in a lifetime? If you consider the cost of hospitalization for some of the health related problems and prescription costs for the mental and emotional issues, the costs can be extraordinary, but how can you measure a loss in your quality of life? I’m not sure it is possible to put a dollar figure on a life and I wouldn’t want to argue with someone on their death bed that they can’t buy more time for all the money in the world.
I believe that the cost of a gym membership is more than worth the extra expense every month, so long as you are using it. If you are not using it, don’t cancel it, GET TO THE GYM AND EXERCISE!!! It isn’t the money you should be concerned with, you should be concerned with your life, with your future and with your health in the long term.
Keep the gym membership and use it!