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When I moved to New York, even on my piddly entry level PR salary, I joined a gym. I considered it an investment in my health, and I picked a middle-of-the-road chain in terms of price (NYSC – there was even a branch in my building). Even though the pay wasn’t much, my hours were great, so I took full advantage of the evening group workout classes at least four days a week.

Monday is my last day at that gym. Four years is quite the commitment in New York-time. I started going less and less as my hours got longer, my friends multiplied, and I had new demands on my time (read: planning a wedding and dealing with the deluge of thank you notes from said wedding). The last six months, I’ve been lucky to make it twice a week.

But even though the cost-per-visit ratio has become quite unnerving, it’s still important to me to prioritize exercise, especially since I sit holed up in an office most of the day. So, after much discussion and budget crunching, we decided to join the Y. We realize there will be many, many kids, and perhaps fewer classes and weight rooms and elliptical machines. But it is MUCH cheaper, and as the spring comes and we spend more time running and being active outdoors, it will definitely help assuage the guilt of paying for a service we may rarely use.

I’m optimistic, but I’m a little nervous. Silly as it sounds, through my job changes and apartment changes and relationship status changes, my gym, with its pleasant locker room and ample cardio machines, has been a constant. But this move makes sense for us, and we always have the option to reevaluate down the road.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on paying for a gym membership, especially if you live in a big city. Where do you rank exercise among your priorities? What’s your favorite activity? AND…does anyone belong to the Y?