Gym anxiety: How to manage it? – Medical News Today

Anxiety is a common mental health problem that many people experience. Anxiety can cause a person to feel worried, fearful, and stressed. Gym anxiety is related to going to the gym and working out in front of other people.
Anxiety affects around 31% of adults in the United States at some stage in their life.
Common symptoms of anxiety include feeling restless, worried, and irritable. Anxiety can also lead to fatigue, sleeping difficulties, and headaches.
This article explores people’s anxiety about working out in a gym. It will also discuss triggers for anxiety and what a person can do to feel less anxious.
Gym anxiety is the anxiety a person feels while exercising in a public gym or even at the thought of using one.
An individual may feel anxious about working out in front of other people. They may worry about what others will think of their ability in the gym or about their appearance as they exercise.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) suggests that not knowing what to expect can trigger gym anxiety for people new to the gym.
Despite gyms being a trigger for anxiety in some individuals, working out and exercising is also an effective way to reduce anxiety.
Learn more about anxiety.
There are several things that can trigger a person’s anxiety about the gym.
Social anxiety disorder is the name for an intense fear or anxiety related to certain social situations where a person may be the subject of scrutiny. An individual may fear that others will judge them and think negatively about them.
Social anxiety disorder may cause the person to fear being embarrassed or humiliated.
There are several elements of visiting the gym that can cause someone to develop social anxiety. They include:
One 2018 study looked at barriers to resistance training in college-age women. The study found that many participants were aware of the benefits of resistance training but still did not undertake the recommended amount.
Some participants gave reasons why they avoided resistance training because of how other people might perceive them. Reasons included:
Using a gym locker room may also cause social anxiety. People may feel uneasy changing clothes in front of others or feel uncomfortable being around other individuals as they change.
Some people may feel uneasy using areas of the gym that males or females typically dominate. This includes the weight room, where resistance training takes place.
The 2018 study above suggested that having a women’s weightlifting class or a women-only area of a gym could help motivate females to undertake resistance training more often.
The NASM suggests several ways of reducing gym anxiety.
Some people may be unsure what to expect when they visit a gym. This uncertainty may make their gym anxiety worse.
To feel prepared, a person can read online about the gym’s layout, equipment, opening times, and classes. They can also write down questions to ask staff members.
If an individual feels anxious in crowded spaces, they can find out when the gym is quieter and visit at those times.
A person could also go on a gym tour to familiarize themselves with the gym before using it to work out.
Visiting the gym with a friend can be comforting and may help ease a person’s gym anxiety.
A friend who has been to the gym before can demonstrate how to use equipment and may help a person feel reassured.
A personal trainer is a professional who works one-on-one with a person to help them achieve their fitness goals.
By using a personal trainer, an individual can build confidence in the gym. The personal trainer can:
Group exercise classes may induce less anxiety than working out alone in the wider gym. Instructors sometimes tailor classes to particular fitness levels, and beginners may feel less intimidated working out in a group setting.
A person could also watch part of an exercise class before taking part in it, so they know what to expect.
If a person cannot overcome their gym anxiety, they may wish to exercise in other places. Alternatives to the gym include:
Learn more about types of exercise.
Gym anxiety refers to worry, fear, and stress related to visiting a gym. However, exercise is an effective way to reduce anxiety.
People may be anxious that others will judge them negatively when they work out. They may also feel anxious before they use a gym for the first time because they are unsure of what to expect.
A person can overcome their gym anxiety by researching the gym before going, visiting the gym with a friend, working with a personal trainer, and trying group exercise classes.
If an individual cannot overcome their gym anxiety, they can try alternatives, such as running, walking, cycling, or group classes outside of the gym.
Last medically reviewed on April 26, 2022
10 sourcescollapsed



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *