Does a Gym Membership Really Help? YES!

Researchers at Iowa State University and University of Illinois at Chicago examined the correlation between health club membership and actual physical fitness.  They utilized health indicators such as resting blood pressure, resting heart rate, body mass index, waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness.   For total physical activity, they included both activities that took place in the health club as well as lifestyle activities.

The study indicated that there is a “significant association” between health club membership and “more favorable cardiovascular health outcomes and sedentary behavior”.

The current physical activity guidelines established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommend either:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week
  • 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week
  • An equivalent combination of these two


  • Participation in muscle-strengthening activities 2 or more days per week.

Researchers found that 87% of health club members met the aerobic recommendations compared to only 30% of non-members.  With respect to the muscle-strengthening, 84% of the health club members met that recommendation compared with only 36% of non-club members.  Additionally, they found that 75% of the surveyed members met both recommendations compared to only 18% of non-members.

The difference in meeting the physical activity recommendations did not continue when only lifestyle activity was considered.  This may suggest that health club members also share similar activity levels outside of the health club.

Of course, merely paying for a health club membership does not result in improved health.  One must still go to the club and “put in the work”.  With health clubs becoming more prevalent and accessible, this research may provide some with the added motivation to follow through with plans.  This shows that people who are willing to put in the time and effort can be greatly rewarded with improved fitness.

There are a number of types of health clubs across the country.  Many can be modified according to your health needs and issues.  Your chiropractor can help you get started on the road to fitness by helping you:

  • determine which style of exercise might be best suited to your lifestyle and health status
  • give you advice on how to start an exercise program
  • suggest stretches and strengthening exercises to prevent injuries
  • provide chiropractic care to maintain proper alignment and optimal performance
  • treat athletic injuries to keep you moving towards your health goals

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