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Don’t Quit the Gym

Don’t Quit the Gym

In one episode of Friends, Chandler, who never works out, admits he actually belongs to a gym. Seems whenever he goes in to terminate his membership, an attractive woman named Maria changes his mind. So, Ross goes to the gym to help Chandler keep his resolve, but when he meets Maria he ends up joining the gym! The two then decide the only way to cancel their memberships is to close their bank accounts. But an attractive bank employee foils that plan. They leave with a joint checking account.

If the guys had truly capitulated—and gone to the gym—they would have ended up a lot better off! Researchers followed over 400 people for five months; half belonged to a gym and half didn’t. Tracking study participants’ health measures, such as blood pressure and heart rate, and having them answer questions about their activities produced striking data. Gym members worked out an average of 484 minutes a week. That was compared to 137 minutes for non-gym rats. And the gym members were 14 times more likely to meet weekly physical activity guidelines. What’s more, people who had a membership for more than a year had better heart and lung health and smaller waist circumferences.

So if you don’t belong to a gym, consider the investment—there are many gym choices these days with very low membership fees. And enlist a workout buddy, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, and you’ll both get more exercise when you have mutual support. 

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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