Working out the gyms

Dear Readers: Many folks JOIN GYMS around the start of the year. What is it about that holiday weight gain? Here are a few quick hints for not only finding the right gym for you, but also for being a good gym customer:

* When looking into joining a gym, ask for a free trial. Some gyms will let you have a week free, or at least try a class to see if you like it.

* Ask if they have any discounts. We all know the standard senior and military discounts, but they may have more, which could save you money.

* When working out, don’t take calls on your cellphone! If you need to keep it with you, put it on silent and call back later! Or step away to someplace where you can talk without bothering other people.

* Be aware of what’s going on around you! If you see that people are waiting for a machine or weights, don’t be a hog, and try to keep your time limited.

* If taking a group exercise, be on time. If you know you are going to have to leave early, tell the instructor, and find a spot close to the door so you can slip out quietly.

Hope these hints help you and others have an enjoyable gym experience! — Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise(at)

Dryer-sheet use

Dear Heloise: Here is my helpful hint: After we complete the cycle on our clothes dryer, I take the fabric- softener sheets and stuff them into all of our shoes. It absorbs the moisture and also the odors. Recycle, and no cost. — R. Sell, Littlefield, Texas

Travel hint

Dear Heloise: I work in a large airport and have two travel hints for you. First, a lot of bags are black. What most travelers don’t know is that most baggage handlers put the bags on the system wheels up so that they don’t slide and cause a jam. So, if you are putting an identifying mark on your bag, do it on the back. It will help a lot in finding your bag.

Second, when you submit your bag at the ticket counter and they put the bag tag on or have you put the bag tag on, make sure the tag is not around both handles. If the bag has to be inspected, the bag tag will have to be removed. As you know, they are hard to separate, but what you might not know is that once separated, they don’t stick well when put back together. — Ray G. in New York

Great travel hints, Ray, and from someone who really knows! — Heloise

Yarn pompoms

Dear Heloise: For knitters who have all those little balls of wool left over that are too small for any knitting project, make them into pompoms (tie them tightly!). The kitties like them! Dip them in catnip, and see if you can donate them to your local animal shelter. — F.H., Alexandria, Va.