Is ‘Gymtimidation’ Keeping You From Exercising Enough?

Have you ever seen a guy or gal at the gym who is obviously seeking attention?

They look around to see if anyone is watching before they start their routine. And they’ll grunt while lifting weights to gain a few more eyeballs.

They’ll walk around after getting sweaty to make sure everyone knows they’re putting in an intense workout.

And they’ll occasionally shout, “Yes” when they finish their reps on the elliptical. Then glance around to see who noticed.

Half of Americans Fear Public Exercise

Every gym has at least one person who engages in this “Watch me” game. But there are many more people who don’t want to be seen exercising.

The word for this phenomenon is “gymtimidation.” A full 50 percent of Americans are afraid of working out in public.

That’s according to a study of 2,000 people conducted by OnePoll, in conjunction with protein drink maker Isopure.

The study was designed to discover why more people aren’t spending enough time doing something everyone knows is good for them.

Fascinating Stats

Some of the statistics coming out of the study are interesting. Here are a few of them.

  • 50 percent of Americans believe the idea of working out among other people in a gym environment is a daunting prospect.
  • 31 percent admit to feeling anxious when thinking about trying to get into shape.
  • 37 percent of those who have never worked out think they are too unhealthy to start exercising.
  • 47 percent of those who have conquered their fears about working out admit to having feelings of intimidation while at the gym.
  • 32 percent of those who experience intimidation at the gym do so when they are exercising near someone who is extremely fit.
  • 17 percent say they experience intimidation when exercising in front of the opposite sex.
  • 36 percent say that running outside is more intimidating than starting an exercise routine.

Experiencing a ‘Gym Rut’

Are those who have overcome their gymtimidation in a good place when it comes to health and fitness? According to the study, many are not.

About 40 percent of respondents said they feel like they’ve reached a physical plateau. One possible explanation is that they exercise the same way every time.

The gains from a consistent routine slow after a while. Mixing in new exercise routines is recommended.

Between 40 and 50 percent of those who say they’re in a “gym rut” have not seen recent positive changes in their bodies.

Why Isn’t It Working?

Nearly one-half of the people surveyed admitted they don’t make healthy food and drink choices.

Almost one in four says they don’t know what is the best type of exercise for their bodies.

A surprising 41 percent of those who admit they’re in a gym rut have noticed weight gain without changing their diet.

Nearly 40 percent of those in a gym rut say they see no improvement in their strength and cardio abilities.

Seniors Need It More

Many of our readers have told us they’re 50 or older. So let me address those folks specifically for a moment.

We need to stay physically fit and healthy even more than younger people do. For us, it’s a matter of staying independent for as long as possible.

Many of us don’t exercise at all. And a vast majority of us don’t exercise enough. I understand this. We feel we’ve paid our dues in life and now it’s time to relax.

But too much relaxing and not enough exercising has negative health consequences. Including increased healthcare costs.

Issues and Solutions

Why don’t many of us senior citizens exercise enough? There are a number of reasons. Here are seven of them, along with suggestions on how to overcome them.

One is that we’re losing self-confidence in what we can do physically. Of course, we’ll never be as strong or fast as we used to be. That’s OK. Let’s set reasonable, age-appropriate goals and strive to meet them.

Two is the fear of injury. Yes, there is a higher risk of getting hurt – especially falling – when you’re exercising than when you’re sitting in an easy chair. But age-appropriate exercise is safe. A sedentary lifestyle isn’t.

Three is apathy or laziness. Pointing the remote at a television is easier than going for a walk. But it’s not healthy. Sometimes you have to force yourself to exercise. But once it becomes a habit, you’ll look forward to it.

Enough Exercise = Quality of Life

Four is the lack of time. This is usually an excuse rather than reality. We can find time to do what’s most important in life. Exercise is essential, so schedule a time for it each day and stick with it.

Five is the lack of support. If you always exercise alone, it’s easy to blow it off. Having an exercise partner means having an accountability partner.

Six is discouragement. Not everyone who begins an exercise routine will see results in their body right away. These things take time. You’ll feel results before you see them.

Seven is self-consciousness. Gymtimidation can affect anyone. If this is an issue for you, join a senior exercise class where everyone is in the same boat.

We all want the best qualify of life possible as we age. So let’s improve our chances to accomplish that with consistent exercise. And let other people worry about gymtimidation.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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