Everyone has their own unique motivation for heading to the gym on those cold and gloomy mornings. For some, it’s the prospect of hopping on the most cutting-edge exercise equipment money can buy, lapping up the luxury of an expensive gym.
Unfortunately, the results of a new study suggest that handing good money over to a posh gym isn’t going to get you fit any faster. By carrying out a study on gym-goers from two very different establishments, Professor Ewa M Roos from the University of Southern Denmark was able to determine that fancy gyms are no more capable of delivering results than their slightly ‘rougher’ counterparts.
For the purposes of the study, two groups of people over the age of 35 were interviewed and assessed after hitting the gym regularly for eight weeks. All of the participants suffered from knee or hip injuries and were generally in a good state of health.
Half of the participants attended an ultra-modern gym with cutting-edge equipment and beautiful views, while the others exercised in a rather dank basement with very basic equipment.
For the sake of accuracy, none of the participants were informed as to the purpose of the study, or even that there was a second group exercising elsewhere.
When the eight-week trial came to an end, each of the participants was put through a series of tests to evaluate the extent to which they had improved. Across the board, every member of both groups showed significant improvements for their commitment.
Nevertheless, it was actually the group that worked out in the basic basement that reported feeling better, demonstrating greater improvement in terms of pain relief and flexibility.
As for the explanation, Professor Ewa M Roos suggested it could have something to do with nostalgia and general camaraderie.
“They felt at home in the environment and expressed nostalgia because it reminded them of their old school gym,” she reported.
“They also felt a stronger sense of fellowship – they were in it together and worked as a team to achieve their goals.”
By contrast, those working out in the more expensive gym may have succumbed to distractions not present at the simpler exercise facility, the Professor theorized.