Some women go to the gym to get rid of any negative feelings, and to get away from the pressures of life. Sports clubs have proven their effectiveness in this aspect. I think you also know that they have a proven psychological effect.
But! This effect is not always positive. Many females develop feelings of stress and anxiety at the mere thought of going to the gym, and those feelings prevent them from adopting a regular exercise routine. Do you have a phobia or anxiety? Follow this article to help you find solutions to this problem.
In this Article
Just taking the first step in entering the world of sports can feel a lot like going on a first date. Your heart races, your mind starts imagining different scenarios, and sweat starts pouring from your palms.
Does it sound strange and scary? If you suffer from “gym phobia and anxiety”, don’t worry, you are not the only one, but you should not ignore it, and do not let anxiety prevent you from starting or continuing your exercise. Whether you’ve just started exercising, or you’ve returned to exercise after a break, you are strong enough to overcome these feelings.
Follow us to find out all the information you need about gym phobia and anxiety:
Gym Phobia and Anxiety
The anxiety you feel when thinking about going to the gym or working out is felt by most people the first time they enter a fitness club. The simple reason for this feeling is that we do not know what will happen.
Anxiety itself is an emotion that is accompanied by feelings of stress, uncomfortable thoughts, and physical changes, such as high blood pressure, racing heart, and sweating. Anxiety can be caused by the unknown, such as the first day at school, the first day at a new job, or even going to school, gym or fitness class for the first time.
The unknown makes you more imaginative and prompts your brain to overthink and ask questions: Do I look fat? Will everyone be fitter than me? Will people be nice to me? Are they going to judge me because I’m not as fit as they are? Will there be someone at the front desk to talk to? What should I do if I can’t find an employee? Will there be parking? What if I miss the entrance?…
This kind of thinking accompanied by endless questions causes more anxiety and fear, and it may become stressful for you.
Also read: Nerve Strengthening Exercises
Another type of gym anxiety is associated with experiencing the unknown when it comes to the actual workout. It is especially evident when someone else writes your exercise program, such as a personal trainer.
But motivation and learning ways of coping with anxiety can help you get the most out of exercise.
In order to find an effective treatment for this anxiety, we must know its causes:
Gym Phobia and Anxiety Causes
Like any type of anxiety, gym anxiety can be both complex and unique. But here are some common scenarios that trigger it:
You’re still a beginner
If you haven’t exercised in a gym before, or it’s been a long time since you’ve returned to working out, you may feel afraid and wonder: Will everyone be fitter than me? Will people judge me? What should I do and how do I start? These thoughts and feelings are referred to as situational anxiety, and they are caused by you experiencing unfamiliar situations.
You changed the gym
It happens that you have been doing your exercises in a gym for a period of time and then you have to change it.
Moving from place to place, finding a dressing room and bathroom, locating equipment you want to use, and getting into a new routine are all enough to make you feel anxious.
You are having problems using the new equipment
You may stand in the hall lovingly looking at the leg press machine, but your fear prevents you from trying it, so what if you make a mistake? What if you use it wrong?
All this will stand between you and exercise.
Also read: How to Increase Fitness
The gym is very crowded
Because of the coronavirus, crowded indoor spaces can make many people uncomfortable. The anxiety over COVID-19 is real. And the idea of returning to life as we knew it before the pandemic can make many people feel uncomfortable.
And there are other reasons dear, such as having to change your clothes in front of others, or the club being mixed and crowded with men, and many other reasons that may drag you into a spiral of anxiety and a sense of fear.
Strategies for Overcoming Gym Phobia and Anxiety
And now we will answer the question of this article, which is how do you beat gym anxiety? Here are strategies you can try starting today:
1- Be aware and know in advance what you are about to do
As we told you, the origin of anxiety is unknown. So getting as much information as possible beforehand will help you feel more confident.
Start surfing the internet by searching for the gym and learn more about it. Then go for a ride there, and get to know the building and the staff.
2- Start slowly
Don’t feel like you have to try everything on your first visit to the gym. Choose a small goal that suits you, like spend 10 or 15 minutes on the cardio machine, or do some stretching, and then gradually increase the level.
3- Hire a coach
Working with a personal trainer “just for one session” can help you learn what exercises to do, how to perform them, and how to use the equipment. And don’t forget to set your priorities; Even just one session with a personal trainer is enough to get to know the exercises and equipment more, start following a program with him, and after sticking to it for a month or two, you can schedule an appointment with the trainer for another session to take your program to the next level.
4- Go with a friend
Going to the gym with a friend or family member who has previous experience, can provide you with an atmosphere of comfort, support and adequate guidance.
After you feel reassured enough by having a companion the first few times, you can then go on your own with confidence.
5- Plan your time and training
Creating a plan is not important only for time management, but it eliminates your fear of the unknown.
If you know exactly what exercises you want to do and in what order, you will be able to focus on your exercise more and not get stuck in the cycle of doubts about what to do in the future. And if using the dressing room makes you anxious, you can avoid that by getting dressed for exercise beforehand.
And many other things that you can plan in advance and find appropriate solutions.
6- Take a deep breath and think positive
If you feel fatigued, focus on your breath. Try to breathe from your stomach. This type of breathing technique, in which you move your diaphragm and expand your stomach, has been shown to reduce stress and cortisol levels.
Try to rephrase your self-talk. Speak positively. For example, if you are worried about people judging your appearance, change your thoughts from “This person thinks I’m fat and out of shape” to “This person is just out there to work out and focus on themselves.”
It seems very simple. Start by noticing your negative thinking pattern first, then in time take steps to challenge it and switch it to something positive, then you will notice that you are able to gain more courage to walk through the gym doors.
7- Keep going
The more you progress, the more confident you become and the easier it will be for you to carry out your exercises, This would also help you treat gym phobia and anxiety.
It’s normal to avoid the gym if it makes you anxious, but you have to find ways to adapt and stick to it, and you’ll notice great improvement over time.
Anxiety can be a normal part of beginning any new journey. Just focus on taking small steps forward, and adopt advance planning to help you control anxiety.
If you find that your gym anxiety is debilitating or isn’t improving despite your best efforts, ask a professional for help.
Be reassured and remember that everyone in the gym was a beginner at some point, and just like you, everyone walked through those doors for the first time and overcame their phobia, anxiety, and fear of the gym. Your health and happiness are the most important, and you belong where you feel comfortable. We hope you liked the article. Stay safe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gym Phobia and Anxiety
Does sport remove anxiety?
Yes. Physical activity improves mood by releasing happiness hormones and reducing the stress hormone “cotisol”. But you should be careful not to overdo it and do it regularly.
Does anxiety cause fatigue in the body?
Yes. Most physical problems are of psychological origin. Where it has been scientifically proven that stress and anxiety cause physical diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, ulcers, and migraines.
Does sport reduce panic attacks?
Yes. Regular exercise helps control and reduce panic attacks. In addition to consulting psychologists who help the person in ways that are suitable for him.