Ever join a gym and then never go? Yup, me too. When I lived in Manhattan, I signed up at an overly trendy gym in SoHo, and I definitely made the effort -- at first.

But it was only a matter of time before I was taking a different subway line to a new job, and I couldn't be bothered to walk the few extra blocks in the rain, sleet, snow, etc. to work out. When my contract was up, I vowed to never again spend money on something I would never/rarely use. Since then, I've officially quit going to a gym, collected Jillian Michaels and Hemalayaa's Bollywood Workout DVDs (so much fun!), and haven't looked back.

Here, five reasons why you should break free too ... 

1. The Internet -- The idea that you need to spend anywhere from $25-$900 a month on a gym membership and personal training is obsolete now that you can get the same results at home for free. I know I sound like an infomercial, but I'm not talking about purchasing a cumbersome piece of equipment that's eventually going to become a drying rack for laundry. I'm talking about checking out a website that offers free, full-length workout videos. You can mix and match and do a different workout any day without investing in anything -- it's basically the ultimate commitaphobe's antidote to boredom. A couple to try: ExerciseTV and SELF Magazine's Workouts.

2. French women don't, so why should we? -- We already know they don't get fat, but now, we have proof that they stay slim without sweating their brains out in a spinning class. Their secret? They get their physical activity outside -- most often via soccer, tennis, or cycling.  

3. Gyms are crawling with germs -- Do you know how easy it is to contract Folliculitis from a communal-use yoga mat? How about MRSA? Recent research shows that you have to arm yourself with a slew of antibac product if you want to be sure to defend yourself against infectious bugs at the gym. Forget that -- I'll just stay home to contend with my boyfriend's and my own germy Perfect Pushup and hand weights, thanks!

4. It's inconvenient/time-consuming -- Unless your gym is in your office or apartment building, you probably have to do some schlepping to get there. Not to mention the whole changing into workout clothes part, figuring out where to stash your keys, remembering a locker combination like it's junior high all over again, then waiting your turn for an elliptical, etc. This can all add up to a total time-suck. You might actually be able to get more "workout time" in simply by doing it at home or just beyond your front door.

5. Rodents -- No, not that they're in the gym. (Unless you live in NYC ...) But when you're going from machine to machine only to run, bike, or row your way to nowhere, don't you feel a little like a caged hamster? Maybe running around outside or dancing to your favorite tunes on Pandora would be better for both your body and your mind. 

How do you feel about working out at a gym?

 

Image via lu_lu/Flickr