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Consumer Watch: How to avoid financial pitfalls when getting fit

So, you promised to get fit and healthy for the new year. There are finances to consider when you make this decision because some gym memberships can be a financial hardship for some people.

If you are already a member at a gym, it may not surprise you to find that it is more full than usual. Many in the fitness industry say this is one of their busiest times of year, and at the YMCA in Oklahoma City, it is no different.

“Right now is definitely one of the busier times. We see a lot of people coming in. We have a lot of questions about membership and what they can do to start getting on a healthy track," says Sara Holmes, health and wellness director.

If you are looking into getting a gym membership as part of your new healthy lifestyle there are some things to think about before you sign anything. The most important question one should consider is, can you afford it. The average gym membership will run you about 40 dollars a month. Often there are also joining fees, and those vary from place to place. Consumers can sometimes find deals that will waive any signing fees, but you'd have to sign a contract.

There are other options if this seems too financially overwhelming. You can focus on doing your own workouts at home or outside. There are also opportunities to take advantage of the occasional free community classes at yoga studios or gyms thought your city. At the YMCA there is also financial assistance.

"If our rates are not affordable to the client, they can apply for financial assistance, and we do not turn anybody away due to their inability to pay" says Holmes.

Working out offers many benefits, including stress relief and a longer healthier life, but don't stress yourself out by over spending, or getting locked into a contract if you don't think you can stick to it. The best way to make sure your money is going to good use, if you have already signed a contract, is to go to the gym.

You can often find special deals if you sign-up for a gym as a family. The consumer will pay more total, but it can be a cheaper per person. There are also no frills gyms that cost about 10 dollars a month, but if you don't have the money, don't stress. There are plenty of ways to lose weight without a gym. Something as simple as walking or jogging every day is a step in the right direction without hitting your wallet.

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