Today marks the first day of fall! Before you clock out for the weekend take some time for a healthy dose of news. This week’s HealthBuzz consists of hot headlines from DIR and our partner sites, including Shape, IVillage, and Fitday, as well as some delicious banana recipes from Undressed Skeleton and Thinin10.
Don’t wait until the last day of the week to hear from us! Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest! Also, don’t forget to ‘Like Us’ on Facebook for the chance to win a year’s supply of guacamole from Wholly Guacamole!
Choose the Right Gym For You (So You’ll Actually Use the Membership)
With the fall and holiday season quickly approaching, gyms will be filling up with people wanting to maintain their health and figure for social gatherings and special events. Gyms can be uncomfortable and expensive and there is nothing like wasting money on a membership that you don’t use! Let us help you choose the right gym with this helpful guide.
Seven Fall Activities For the Whole Family
September 21 is the official day of fall! What better way to enjoy the weather then with your family? Stephanie Mansour from Step It Up With Steph shares seven fall activities for the whole family. There is even a healthy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds! Fall has never been so healthy before. (more…)
With the fall season upon us and holidays approaching quickly, some of you might be considering joining a gym in order to maintain those extra calories you’ll be consuming this season. To help you make the best decision for you, we’ve put together a list of gyms that each has their own unique purpose and programs.
A good tip before you begin the slideshow is to right down what’s important to you in a gym membership. Is the location a huge factor? Do you desire to be involved in group fitness classes or are you looking for some one-on-one personal training? Other important factors we recommend you ponder on are the clubs’ hours and if they work with your schedule or not, the actual membership monthly fees, and whether or not extra amenities would be useful to you.
Go ahead and find the right gym for you!
David Bakke writes about tips for improving health and saving money on Money Crashers Personal Finance.
In 2009, Americans spent almost $2.5 trillion on health care, and that number is expected to almost double by the year 2019. As these costs escalate, it’s obvious that a healthy lifestyle can save you money. But the question is, how much money should you spend to live healthy? Fortunately, there are many ways to cut back on health expenses without cutting back on health benefits.
1. Gym Membership
Unless your monthly gym bill serves as your only motivation to exercise, a gym membership is usually not worth the expense. You can walk or jog in your neighborhood, bike at a local park, and swim in public pools. You can also pick up a cheap set of dumbbells for strength building. In fact, skipping the gym can easily save $500 annually.
2. Organic Food
Organic foods cost roughly 30% more than their traditional counterparts. So if you’re spending the money on organic, make sure it’s worth it and research which are safe to buy conventionally grown instead. For example, some conventionally grown fruits don’t contain as many pesticide residues as others. Whereas conventionally grown apples repeatedly test as some of the “dirtiest” fruits on the market. Avocados, onions, cantaloupes, asparagus, and eggplants should be safe to buy non-organic. (more…)
We are in the middle of tax season and many people are searching for every possible deduction to save some cash. Typically, gym membership fees are not tax deductible, but the possibility is there for those that may have had exercise prescribed by their doctor for a particular health issue.
Keep in mind that the IRS will not allow you to use your gym membership as a deduction if you are using it for overall health or weight loss. The membership fees may be deductible only if your doctor prescribes exercise at a gym to treat a medical condition or illness. Some of the conditions that might cause your doctor to prescribe using a gym are things like obesity, hypertension or certain mental illnesses.
As with any type of tax deduction, you want to make sure you are educated on the rules involved to avoid penalties or being audited. The three criteria for having a tax deductible gym membership include having a diagnosis from a medical doctor for a specific medical condition with written documentation, using the gym facilities to treat the diagnosed condition following your doctors instructions and you can’t have had your membership at the gym prior to being diagnosed with your medical condition. These criteria don’t seem so hard to meet considering more and more people are being diagnosed as obese and doctors are spending more time prescribing exercise to patients.
Your mailbox and email are probably stuffed full of gym flyers and ads promising the best deal on memberships to get you in shape for the New Year. While this time is probably the best time of year to get a screaming deal on a gym membership, you still want to be vigilent about making sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for so you aren’t hit with huge fees in a contract you can’t get out of later in the year.
You have more control over your membership and what you pay than you think, you just have to know what to ask for and what options are available to you. Bigger box gyms are usually locked into their membership rates, but have a lot of different membership options to choose from. Many gyms will have memberships with limited hours of access to the gym- like mid-day hours where it is less busy- for discounted prices. While this may mean you can only enter the facility during certain business hours, if it fits with your schedule, it’s worth discount. Don’t believe that the contract the membership sales person shows you is the best option for your situation. Ask for the cheapest most basic membership they offer, and work from there. Don’t forget to ask about senior options, military discounts, and student discounts if they apply to you.
Be sure to also ask about any specials they may be running as well. It’s New Years, which means most gyms will have some sort of special offer running. Whether it is zero enrollment fee, which can save you upwards of $100, or a few free months with a year contract, see what they can do for you.
Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer are working to create a new system of gym memberships. Gym-Pact is a membership program that charges members higher fees if they don’t workout regularly. Zhang and Oberhofer are testing the theory that people are more motivated by short-term consequences than long-term rewards. It also creates a sense of accountability.
Gym-Pact has negotiated pilot programs with gyms in Boston. Their first partnership was for first-time customers at Bally Total Fitness, and now they’ve negotiated a group rate at Planet Fitness. Instead of a high up-front cost, the members of the Gym-Pact deal at Planet Fitness get a free membership if they workout four times per week. If not, they must pay $25.00.
Because many of us are strapped for cash these days, it makes sence that when we go to choose a weight-loss program, cost is a factor. Sure, you can’t put a price on your health, but wouldn’t you like to drop the weight in the most cost effective way possible? Recently there’s been a lot of talk about how much different diets cost, but what about if you set out to lose 20 pounds on your own? How much does that cost? Well, we did the math!
While many commercial diet programs cost upwards of $100 per pound lost, you can do things much cheaper on your own, assuming that you are losing two pounds a week over the course of 10 weeks: