The Pros and Cons of Gyms, Fitness Centres & Sports Clubs

We take a look at the positives & negatives of Gyms, Fitness Centres & Sports Clubs.

These are at the sharp end of the health industry - in more ways than one. Of course, fitness centres of all kinds have been around for years, but these days they offer a lot more than just a room full of treadmills and lifting machines. The fitness business is producing new ways to achieve a better body all the time, for example the 'Power Plate�', which has been hailed as 'the microwave of fitness'. It's claimed that 10 minutes spent exercising on the machine, (which looks a little like a 'slimming machine' of the sixties) is equivalent to 60 minutes of traditional strenuous activity. The machine works by giving the body's muscles a high-speed workout by using vibrations to stimulate them to contract and relax. The enormous range of gym equipment is matched by an equally wide selection of classes offered by both gyms and leisure centres. In my own local authority-run leisure centre I have the choice of swimming sessions for every stage of life; squash, racketball and table tennis; and a dizzying (even before the class begins) choice of workout classes with encouraging titles - 'stretch and refresh', 'quick condition', salsarobics, t'ai chi and much more...As well as the more frantic sort of activity, many gyms and fitness centres also offer a full menu of hair and beauty treatments, so a workout for the body can be followed by a luxurious massage, facial and finishing blow dry. The Waves Leisure Club at the Menzies Mickleover Court Hotel near Derby is one such, but there are countless others in the county with a similarly opulent offer.Sports clubs, whether it be football, bowls, netball, tennis or judo, provide not only the opportunity to get fit while learning or improving in a chosen activity but also a social life - so dust off your old racquet, buy some new trainers and see what a difference the healthy lifestyle can make.Gyms etc ...Good for- a mind-blowing choice of activities - with some pampering thrown in- feeling like you've really felt the pain- getting very fit indeed if you put the hours in. Or just fit enough- making new friends and developing your social lifenot so good for - your pocket - gym membership can be expensive,although check out local authority centres too- catching your favourite tv programme. Feeling the burn isaddictive!

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