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Your Health

Choosing a place to work out: a gym vs. at home

Some may like the idea of working out in a gym. Others prefer the privacy of their own home. Here are some tips to help you decide which one may work for you.

If you like the social atmosphere of a gym, first do your homework.

Some questions to consider:

Is the gym convenient? Close to your home or work? Is it open during the hours you are likely to attend?

What type of amenities do you need? A pool? Steam room? Racquetball courts? A large fitness class program? If you don't need all these amenities, why pay for them?

Next, go visit the gym.

We recommend that you visit during the hours that you will be using it. Here are some things to be aware of:

Is the gym affordable?

Does the gym managers ask for you to pay for a full year in advance?

Is it overcrowded?

Is it well maintained?

Does the gym offer a good variety of appropriate equipment?

Are there fitness professionals available to teach you how to properly use the equipment?

If you do not care for the social environment of a gym, workout in your own home.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Before you spend a lot of money on equipment, start with the basics.

Dumbbells: 3, 5, and 8 pounds for toning; heavier weights for strengthening.

Tubing or Dynabands. These are inexpensive, resistance devices that are available at exercise equipment stores.

A step. Stairs in your home will do, or even the deck outside.

Hire a qualified personal trainer to design a safe, effective program.

If a personal trainer does not fit into your budget, rent an exercise video.

Whether you purchase a membership to a gym or decide to workout at home, you have to make the commitment.

Staying motivated and being consistent are probably the most difficult aspects of any exercise program.

Lee and Begg, co-owners of The Body Specialists, are certified personal fitness trainers in the Los Altos area. For more information, call 960-2452.

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