A new study has found that one in four wommen suffer from ‘gymtimidation’ and shy away from exercise for fear of being judged.
Almost half of women have at some point felt negatively judged when working out – this affects those aged 18-24 the most, with 70% feeling this way.
37% feel others believe they aren’t good enough to go to the gym, and 28% worry people think they look unattractive when they work out
A third worry others will think they don’t know what they are doing, resulting in many ditching the gym altogether.
The study of 2,000 women, commissioned by Sure Women, also revealed women aren’t moving enough and it could have serious health implications.
The results revealed that the average UK woman is physically active for just four hours a day, equating to three quarters of the waking day spent inactive.
More than one in five confessed to participating in physical exercise less than once a week, if at all, preferring to spend time watching TV, browsing the internet or doing nothing at home.
Despite spending nearly £300 on gym memberships and fitness classes per year, many don’t take advantage of it.
Courtney Lucas, brand manager for Sure Women, said: ‘We were shocked when we discovered the extent of women’s lack of movement and the barriers they face to working out.
‘Our Your World Your Workout initiative aims to fuel a conversation about the importance of women having the confidence to move more in their everyday lives, using the world around them to feel more confident and benefit their long-term health.”
‘It could be as simple as getting off the bus a stop early to walk, taking the stairs instead of the lift or just simply heading out for a long stroll on a Sunday with the family – these are all examples of small movements that can make a big impact.’
Although 67% of women wish they worked out more, excuses such as ‘getting too red and sweaty’ and the fear of not being good enough are preventing many from going.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, an expert in women’s health, is working with Sure to educate women on the importance of moving more in their everyday lives.
She said: ‘Exercise has been touted to be a cure for so many things in life; from depression to memory loss.
‘A variety of studies warn that sedentary lifestyles are likely to be causing as many deaths as smoking and certain types of cancers but there are incremental changes women can make to their everyday lives that will see their movement increase and thus the benefits that come with that activity.’
The top ten reasons for avoiding working out
1. Not having enough money for the gym/classes (27%)
2. Feeling too intimidated by the gym (25%)
3. Worrying about looking unfit in front of other people (21%)
4. Worrying about what other people think of me (19%)
5. Not knowing how to use machinery or exercise efficiently (16%)
6. Worrying about getting too red and sweaty (15%)
7. Fear of not being good enough (14%)
8. Feeling that I need to be better before I work out in public (14%)
9. Feeling intimidated by the gym because of male trainers (14%)
10. Not liking how I look in workout clothing (12%)
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