Fear of looking unfit ‘prevents many from going to the gym’

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The fear of being judged is one of the biggest causes of “gym-phobia” in the south east, according to new statistics released as part of the British Heart Foundation’s new MyMarathon challenge.

Most of us can come up with a plethora of excuses not to go to the gym or exercise. But a BHF poll has revealed aside from membership costs the main reason people in the region avoid going to the gym is feeling intimidated by other fitter, more competitive people (26%).

Second on the list was not feeling fit enough to start going to the gym in the first place (25%), followed by the fear of what other people would think of them when exercising (24%).

Not knowing or having the confidence to use the different exercise machines (23%) was another key barrier for those wanting to exercise in the South East, followed by people showing off at the gym (16%).

Other gym pet peeves included regulars taking over at the gym, as well as people wearing lycra and grunting whilst exercising.

But you don’t have to be a slave to the gym to be more active. The BHF is challenging the nation to take on its brand new MyMarathon challenge to conquer 26.2miles over the month of May and help fund life saving research.

Runners can complete the challenge this May in a way that’s a challenge for them. Whether it’s at the park, during lunchbreaks or around the streets with friends by your side. Over a few days, a couple of weeks or the whole month – You decide the pace and you decide the place.

Sign up for free at www.bhf.org.uk/mymarathon

Lucy Wilkinson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, 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.”

Heart and circulatory disease affects around 7million people in the UK and is responsible for around 155,000 deaths each year – around one person every three minutes.

Every pound raised from MyMarathon will help the BHF fulfil its ambition to fund half a billion pounds of new research in the next five years, to revolutionise and accelerate the fight against heart disease.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll. Total sample size was 2,000 UK adults.