Household budgets: Time to quit the gym?
How’s that 2017 fitness regimen going? asked Catey Hill in Market Watch.com. Odds are, not great. More than one in three people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January, and more than half by the time June rolls around. With the most common resolutions having to do with health and weight loss, that means a lot of unused gym memberships right about now. While that’s not great for your waistline, it’s also equally hard on your wallet. Americans spend an average of $58 a month on gym memberships, and some 67 percent of us don’t even use them, according to data from statistics aggregator Statista.com. Researchers have found it takes two months on average for gym members to cancel their membership after they’ve stopped going. So, it’s time “to either find a way to motivate yourself to hit that treadmill, or cut your losses.”
“Getting out of a gym membership is a workout unto itself,” said Kelli Grant in CNBC.com. Many gyms require members to jump through hoops like canceling in person or sending a certified letter. Some even require a doctor’s note explaining why you can’t exercise anymore. First, read through your membership agreement for these and other details, like early-exit fees.
“Once you’ve done your research, arm yourself with any documentation you might need to make your case.” Or pay someone to try canceling for you. Online services like GetHuman, Trim, and Truebill will talk to your gym’s customer service, even sending a certified letter on your behalf if that’s required. If your gym still won’t let you go free, “look to your state to see what additional protections may be in play for gym contracts.”
You don’t have to commit to a gym full time, said Sarah Skidmore Sell in the Associated Press. “Consider ClassPass,” which allows you to access classes at a variety of gyms and fitness centers for a flat fee, often at a discount over paying for classes individually. You can mix and match the occasional class with non-gym activities—like walking or biking to work—to get fit in a way that suits your budget. “All of this assumes that working out is something you want to do,” said Beth Skwarecki in Lifehacker.com. It doesn’t matter if you exercise at the gym or the park around the corner. Find a way to motivate yourself, either by listening to your favorite podcast, exercising with a friend, or playing a sport you love. “You’re only going to keep up with exercise that’s worth it for you.” ■