A new trend for the health and fitness buffs of the world is online gyms. How does this work? Fitness enthusiasts from across the world are logging on to get pumped up. For as low as a few dollars per week, online gym memberships allow members to sign up for yoga, Pilates, aerobics, martial arts, cardio sessions, kickboxing, step aerobics, jazz dance, and other exercise instructional videos as well as nutritional advice and suggestions on living a healthy lifestyle. It is somewhat fascinating to think that you could be doing the same workout at the same time as someone in Beijing or Rome or Sydney.
Sites such as www.slimtree.com and www.changingshape.com are examples of online gyms that offer video sessions and health advice for a cost. These types of gyms boast being open 24/7, having worldwide and unlimited access, no waiting for classes, working around your own life and time, and having access to tools that can help better and track your health. Similarly, there are other sites such as www.freetrainers.com or www.getfit.com that offer free training plans and health advice without the guidance of online videos. These sites help set up a fitness plan for you based on information that you supply, such as finding out your body mass index (BMI), measurements, and other such information and then customizing your plan.
As advertised by these sites and on many of their tv commercials, there are some wonderful benefits to having the option of an online gym. For the self-conscious gym attendee who skips out on workout sessions due to the fact that they feel shameful about their physical appearance or intimidated by others who workout, online gyms allow anyone and everyone to workout in the comfort of their own home. Not only can you workout at home, you can workout anytime that you wish. There is no need to drive to a gym. This is especially helpful if you live too far from a place that has a gym. People that live in rural areas or small towns without gym facilities are without excuse. Workout instructors are literally available anywhere, anytime. There is also no need to worry about gas or weather or even finding a babysitter to get away and go to the gym. This way, you can wait until the kids are taking a nap or asleep for the night or happily occupied doing something else (or they can participate with you if they are interested).
But, are online gyms a little too good to be true? Maybe. But maybe not. Unless you have access to your own weights, there is definitely an aspect of working out that is being neglected. Weight training is a key part of a total body workout and necessary for the complete health of your body to maintain or improve.
As well, there is a social aspect to going to the gym that is somewhat important. Having contact with other people, having someone to encourage you in your workouts, and getting out of the house and going somewhere else to workout are three important pieces of keeping yourself healthy beyond the physical. Being inside your own home all of the time is not healthy. This type of workout fuels the freshly blazing fire of living a life void of (or with as little) human interaction as possible. It also emphasizes the trend in our culture of individualizing everything, giving the consumer what they want when they want it without having to deal with anyone. This could be considered a benefit and a detriment at the same time.
By using an online gym, you also run the risk of not having certified instruction. Though many online gyms boast of having certified instructors, there are other online gyms that do not and it can be quite hard to tell the difference. Even if a gym claims to have certified instructors, you can not be certain. This can be potentially hazardous to you physically if you do not attain proper warm-up or cool down instructions or if you follow exercise instruction that you are not prepared to take part in. This has the potential to be remedied with gyms that offer online personal trainers, but in reality, it cannot be guaranteed.
Often these online gyms offer health and nutrition information, but the fine print on all of these websites warns that a medical professional should be consulted before making any major lifestyle changes. For anyone who plans to make a major lifestyle change that could press the limits of your body, consulting your family physician is a good place to start.
It may be convenient to workout at home, and if that is the only way to get a workout, then what a fantastic help to keeping your life in balance. The important factor involved in all of this is that you are maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.