One of the golden rules to keeping to a regular workout routine is to take a friend with you to the gym for some extra motivation. However, as it turns out, women past a certain age are actually shy of doing exercise in public, a new study has learned.
This explains why home fitness DVDs and other materials are so successful, the Daily Mail
concludes: because women, especially those past 30, are embarrassed to be seen working out outdoors.
As the study commissioned by the mental health charity Mind has learned, many adult women (9 out of 10 over 30) are too self-conscious to do exercise outdoors, where other people might – or will, most likely – see them.
They list a variety of reasons for this, from how they turn red in the face when they break a sweat, to sweating profusely, having wobbly bits or looking ridiculous in skin tight workout gear.
“It revealed that two out of three women felt conscious about their body shape when they exercise in public. The same proportion (65 per cent) said it was unlikely they’d be able to keep up in an exercise group, while almost half felt they would look silly in front of others as a result of being uncoordinated,” the Mail writes of the findings of the study.
“Six out of ten women were worried about wobbly bits, sweating or going red, while two-thirds thought existing members of an exercise group were likely to be unwelcoming,” adds the publication.
To avoid being “embarrassed” like this, many women do their routine either very early in the morning or late at night, when they know chances of being seen by passers-by are close to nil.
Others, instead, rent out workout DVDs and do it in the privacy of their own home, though that doesn't have the same health benefits as outdoor exercise.
A third category includes women who don't use physical exercise to boost their mood or self-esteem, turning instead to comfort eating, social networking or sleeping.
“We all know that walking, cycling, even gardening are good for our mental health, however for many of us exercising in the great outdoors can be incredibly daunting, especially if already feeling low and self-confidence is at rock bottom,” Beth Murphy, head of information at Mind, says of the study.
“At these times you can feel like the only person in the world experiencing this, but Mind’s research highlights that far from being alone, 90 per cent of women are in exactly the same boat,” Murphy explains.
“It’s time we start talking about how exercise makes us feel. We urge women to take the first step, invite a friend on a nature date and begin to support each other in taking care of our mental wellbeing,” the rep adds.