When your budget is a concern, you'll find walking more affordable than a gym membership.
When you've decided it's time to get in shape, getting started can prove to be difficult. There are so many options at your disposal, it can be hard to sort through them to determine which one is best for you. Take gym memberships versus walking, for instance. You'll have access to a variety of fitness activities at the gym, but simple walking can strengthen your bones, improve your cardiovascular health and help you lose weight.
Cost: No Comparison
If your budget is going to dictate whether you get a gym membership or start walking to get in shape, walking will win out. Even an inexpensive gym membership will cost you money, and if funds are tight that could be money you don't have to spend. You can exercise by walking for free almost anywhere: the park, your neighborhood, the track at a local school or an indoor mall on bad-weather days. Having a choice of several different locations and routes keeps your walking workout fresh, making it less likely that you'll become bored and start skipping workouts.
Equipment for Both
Equipment can be a "pro" or a "con" for both the gym and walking workouts. Having a gym membership gives you access to a large selection of different pieces of equipment that you probably couldn't afford to buy for a home gym. You'll also have access to fitness professionals and personal trainers at the gym who can show you how to use them and help you with your fitness program. Although walking doesn't require or provide a selection of unique pieces of fitness equipment, you still do need minimal gear for a safe and effective walk. The very least you need is a pair of shoes with thick, flexible soles and firm heels. According to the MayoClinic.com, quality walking shoes also should have proper arch support. As your walking workout progresses, you can always start using hiking poles to increase the aerobic workout you get.
If motivation is an issue for you, you may want to choose a gym membership over walking. When you aren't paying to work out and don't have to be anywhere at any given time to attend a class or to exercise before closing time, it's easy to make excuses to blow off exercising or let distractions such as family interruptions and chores derail your workout. You'll be more likely to exercise even if it isn't your favorite activity if you feel a need to get your money's worth out of the membership.
Additional Issues to Consider
People who choose walking over a gym membership don't have to be concerned about whether they're old enough for the gym's insurance requirements, or if they're older than the rest of the gym crowd. If age isn't an issue for you, confidence may be. Typically, other people at the gym are there for themselves, not to watch you work out. But if you're self-conscious working out in a room full of other people, you'll be more likely to find excuses not to exercise. When you walk by yourself or with a friend, you won't be concerned about other people you might see along the way.