Do you get anxious going to the gym? Have you ever felt uncomfortable wearing work-out clothes? Are you worried that people will judge the way you exercise?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be suffering from what many Australians are calling ‘gymphobia.’ Gymphobia is the term being used to describe gym-induced anxiety, and it’s prevalence among Australians is increasing.
According to consumer research conducted by Curves Australia, 46% of gym-goers experience anxiety while exercising, with over a third fearing judgement from others. 50% of the people surveyed said they are scared to go to the gym because they are worried about the way they look in lycra.
The study also found that 18 to 24 year olds are the most likely to put their fitness on hold because of exercise anxiety.
Gyms are a place for personal development and feeling better about oneself, so it’s disappointing that the health and fitness of young people is being put on hold. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable about themselves and their progress while exercising, and anxiety should not be a leading factor in decreasing fitness levels amongst Gen Y.
If you’re struggling to shake the ill-feeling that going to the gym can bring, try some of these tips to get you back on track and smash your fitness goals.
- Wear comfortable clothing. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, much less at the gym where bodies are on display. If skin-tight clothing isn’t your thing, don’t feel obliged to wear it! There are no rules against wearing looser clothing – a long loose top is a great way to cover up, feel great and move comfortably.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re not sure how to use the equipment correctly, no one is judging you! Everyone in that gym had a first time, and there’s always that one piece of equipment that even the best of us don’t know how to use. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You can always hire a personal trainer to show you the ropes, or simply observe other people using equipment before you use it yourself.
- Make a plan before you go. There’s nothing worse than walking into a gym and not knowing where to put yourself. Making up your fitness regime as you go can be time consuming and stressful. If you go in with a plan, you know exactly what you need to do and can maximise the time you spend in the gym. If you’re stuck for ideas, participate in a class! They can give you great ideas for new workouts, and will find new, useful exercises you enjoy.
- Join with a friend. Going into the gym alone can be a scary thing, and your main focus can become the people around you rather than yourself. Joining with a friend can distract you from feeling self-conscious, and keep you motivated to reach your fitness goals.
- Remember that what you do at the gym is none of anyone’s business, and at the end of the day, if you’re getting fitter, you are doing it right!