Are you scared of exercise?
You know that feeling? The one you get the day after you exercise.
I joke about it with new clients sometimes… “beware tomorrow you may not be able to sit down on the toilet!”
I joke but for some it’s actually quite serious, it can be the reason that they don’t get back to or even start exercising.
It can be quite scary.
It can stop you in your tracks.
It is a very real fear.
And there are other fears too that stop women especially from exercising.
A recent report from Sport England found that 76% of responders believe that feeling self-conscious was the no 1 barrier to participation, followed by concerns about not keeping up (56%) and then by finding kit that fits (48%).
With so many things putting us off it’s no wonder exercise is just not something many women want to start doing. It’s also no wonder that for some it is quite scary.
So are you scared to exercise? And if you are what can we do about it?
A lot of our fear comes from perception, if you look at any women’s health and fitness magazines, they are full of toned, slim amazing looking women. These images can make us feel so inadequate and this makes me feel so sad.
Why does exercise have to be about looking a certain way?
For most the fear of not looking like those magazine images and our perception that if we walk into an exercise class it will be full of women who do look like this is frightening.
It’s often terrifying to think that we have to match up and keep up with them.
The reality is of course not like this at all, most women who exercise and attend exercise classes just look like you, normal happy women. It’s just that they got over their fears and they put feeling good in front of everything else.
Here are my top 5 fears and how to overcome them:
I’m not fit enough! Ok so you are unfit, the only way to change that is to start moving more and to actually start exercising so you need to find a way to start slowly.
Your body is capable of far more than your mind thinks.
So start with something you know you can do like walking for example then when you remember that its actually ok you can try something else like increasing the pace of your walk to running at short intervals for example.
I don’t know what to do!
If you have done the walking thing and you want to take things further it’s time to think about getting some help.
Start by finding an environment you feel comfortable in, if that’s at home you have loads of options like finding a personal trainer that you feel comfortable with (this can be cheaper than you think!) or it could be as simple as an exercise DVD if you have the motivation to do it regularly.
If you need some help from a friend, ask around your friends may already have found a class that you could join with them, and if that class is a comfortable place for them it may well be for you too.
People will laugh at me! The last time you did exercise what were you thinking? Were you looking around at everyone in the class or gym and thinking, “What was she thinking coming in here looking like that?” or were you thinking that they were just awesome for being there, you may have even been too busy to notice them at all.
Chances are all the other people were thinking is the same as you. They were thinking about what they are doing, they are worrying about their own problems. Trust me no one is looking at you and no one will laugh. We all have to start somewhere and you don’t know how they looked the first time they walked in.
It’s too hard!
Ok it will probably hurt, it is probably going to feel uncomfortable and you will probably be cursing me tomorrow when the 3 o’clock muscle seizure hits.
But ask yourself this, what is harder; a couple of days discomfort whilst your muscles get used to exercising again or years of finding it hard to walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, years of beating yourself up and feeling bad because you know you can feel fitter, healthier and happier but the thought of the pain is too hard?
I will fail!
It’s true that if you believe you will then you will.
So if you are genuinely scared to exercise in case it doesn’t work then you need to have a chat with yourself! You need to believe that you can make a change and that you will.
Start by setting yourself realistic expectations. If you set yourself up to shred 3 stone in 2 weeks for example then yes you probably will fail!
Make sure you set yourself a goal that you can actually stick to, measuring how much exercise you want to do or how you want to feel is definitely a better option. Measure what you can achieve and set short term inspiring goals will help you get started.
Just remember that everyone is scared of something and we are all able to overcome these fears. Think about all the fears you have overcome in the past. You can easily overcome this one. You just need to put it into perspective and give it a try.
Don’t forget to hit reply if I can help you overcome your specific exercise fear. I love to hear from you and I’m always happy to help if I can.
I’m off to find that Halloween costume, have you sorted yours yet?
p.s. I have a little treat for you if you want some help to consistently move towards your goal download The Consistency Project, its a simple tracker that will do the trick!