Health Matters: Working Out Home vs. Gym

Two physical therapist say there are no limits when it comes to where you can work out

HEALTH MATTERS–Is it better for you to work out at home or join a gym?

For this week’s Health Matters, two Essentia Health physical therapist share both sides of the workout debate.

It’s clear leading an active life helps you lead a healthier life.

How you do that can depend on your lifestyle, your schedule and your space.

“When I work out in the mornings now, I seem to have more energy throughout the day,” said Brett Morlock, a physical therapist with Essentia Health.

“It’s just important to exercise to improve your overall health and as physical therapist, we do a lot on improving your function and mobility,” said Ashley Gunkelman, also a physical therapist with Essentia Health.

Ashley works out at home.

“For me, it’s just more convenient with kids,” she said. “I want to have that extra time to play with my kid.”

Brett goes to the gym.

“At the gym, it’s just a lot easier because I have all the equipment necessary for me to lift the weights as I try to gain more muscle mass,”┬áhe said.

Ashley said it works best for her family to make space at home.

“There are so many different apps, or DVDs, things like that,” said Gunkelman. “But then, also just getting outside, that’s a big thing too, promoting a lot of walking.”

She agreed that working out at home takes motivation.

For gym-goers, that motivation might come out of your wallet.

“If I’m going to be paying for something, I want to get all the benefits of what I’m paying for,” said Morlock.

Many people might feel as if they don’t have the time to work out.

“It’s the time of driving somewhere,” said Gunkelman. “Now that it’s getting nicer out, I’m getting out and running and those type of things. You’re not at the gym, you don’t have other people staring at you, if that’s a concern, it’s kind of nice to just kind of have your own personal space.”

Brett argued the resource the gym offers makes it all worth it.

“If you haven’t started working out, sometimes the gym could be a good start,” he said. “Just to get that free session with a personal trainer that most gyms offer with a membership.”

If you’re a beginner, even just walking around the mall or a local track can do the trick.

“You have that ability to do those things,” said Gunkelman. “There shouldn’t be an excuse for ‘I can’t walk’ or ‘I can’t do this’. I tell a lot of my patients ‘you shouldn’t use the word ‘can’t’.”

The physical therapists said no matter where you work out, bringing a friend along can make it a fun activity.