Northern Ireland

Fear of being judged stops people attending the gym

People in the north don't go to the gym because they are afraid of being judged
People in the north don't go to the gym because they are afraid of being judged

Fear of having to face lycra clad gym-bunnies is one of the main reasons people in the north avoid taking essential exercise, new research reveals.

The British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland has revealed the top 10 gym-phobias and while excuses are usually a dime a dozen, fear of being judged is one of the biggest obstacles, aside from the cost of membership, with 33 per cent of survey respondents saying they feel intimidated.

Number nine on the list was the off putting grunting of other gym users.

Second was annoyance at regulars always taking over gym equipment (26 per cent) followed by the fear of what other people would think of them when exercising (25 per cent).

Not feeling fit enough to start going to the gym was another key barrier (25 per cent ), while not knowing how to use, or having the confidence to use, different exercise machines (24 per cent) is another.

The research comes as the BHFNI is challenging everyone to take part in its MyMarathon challenge to conquer 26.2miles over the month of May and help raise funds in the process.

Lucy Wilkinson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at BHF NI, said: “Keeping active is vital to help improve your heart health, so it is concerning that what’s putting so many people off exercise is a fear of being judged about how they look and their level of fitness, and feeling self-conscious around others when exercising.

“Everyone should feel proud to exercise knowing they are helping to keep their hearts strong. And now with the MyMarathon challenge you don’t have to be a slave to the gym. You decide the pace and you decide the place, so it’s a great way to get active without feeling intimidated, and help us beat heart disease.”

Top 10 reasons for not attending a gym:

1 Feeling intimidated by other fitter, more competitive people 33%

2 Regulars always taking over the gym 26%

3 Feeling embarrassed or worried of what people think of me when I exercise 25%

3 Not feeling fit enough to start going to the gym 25%

4 Not knowing how to use the machines or what exercises to do 24%

5 People showing off at the gym 22%

6 People who dress in competitive fitness attire and wear lyrca 21%

7 The smell of people at the gym 9%

8 People grunting at the gym 6%

9 Fear of getting injured using one of the machines 4%