Starting an exercise program can be daunting -- especially if you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle up until now. Data shows that 300,000 U.S. deaths per year can be attributed to inactivity and poor dietary habits, but we still may have trouble making a drastic lifestyle change.
Statistics shows that three-quarters of American adults say that being fit and looking good are very important to them, yet only 31% exercise regularly. That’s often because our choice to refrain from physical activity may come down to other factors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 23.5% of adults meet federal guidelines for both aerobic and muscle strengthening physical activity, but our couch potato behavior might be due to more than simply not wanting to exercise. In some cases, we may experience feelings of anxiety that are so strong that they actually keep us from working out.
One recent study found that 65% of women and 36% of men actually avoid the gym because they fear they’ll be judged by others. Over half of those surveyed felt they didn’t look fit enough to even go to the gym. There are other reasons to feel anxious about using exercise equipment as well, like the fear of getting hurt or even of sweating in front of other people. Some people even worry that they’ll be judged for their clothing choices or will be stereotyped by other gym-goers. Another study found that 28% of people are intimidated to go to the gym because they don’t know how to use the equipment properly. If you’re worried about feeling embarrassed about your lack of experience or your inability to keep up with others in a fitness class, it’s no wonder that the idea of exercising might feel akin to torture.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Since 51% of women fear that they’ll perform an exercise improperly, experts suggest that it’s a good idea to do your research beforehand and start in a place you feel comfortable -- like your own home.
Whether you don’t want to pay for a pricey membership or simply want to add more convenience to your life, a home gym can be a welcome addition. And if you’re looking to avoid the feelings of judgment that might emanate from others, working out at home can be a very pleasant alternative. You won’t have to worry about driving and will be able to fit in a workout even when you have less than an hour to spare. After all, gym dropout rates within the first eight weeks after membership sign-up can be as high as 80%. Wouldn’t you rather have access to equipment you’ll actually feel comfortable using whenever the mood strikes?
As of 2013, 25.51 million people participated in home gym exercise throughout the United States. While anxiety is certainly not the only reason to create a home gym, it can be an important factor for many people. Working out at home can help you to feel more empowered and allow you to stick with a routine that you can perform at your own pace, without being judged by others for what you wear or what you weigh. And that’s what will motivate you to exercise on a regular basis and be able to reap all the benefits of leading a more fitness-oriented lifestyle.
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