A report has been released in Australia this week suggesting that a phobia of lycra is the biggest reason why many people do not work out regularly in public. Dubbed "gym-phobia" this is a tongue in cheek look at reasons for not attending your local gym but perhaps there is an underlying message. When you bear in mind the fact that obesity is becoming more of a problem around the world, and the working day often restricts time for physical exercise, early morning or late evening gym classes are vital.
So is a phobia of lycra really one of the main reasons why some people refuse to exercise in public or is it an excuse made up by the media?
What stops you going to the gym?
The Australian report suggests that 53% of those attending their local gym are extremely concerned about how they look to the general public when wearing their lycra exercise outfits. While some may laugh at this suggestion the fact is that it is a valid reason in the minds of many not to attend their local gym and not to undertake extremely important exercise routines.
There are obviously other reasons why people feel uncomfortable attending the local gym, perhaps, as this report suggests, mass media images of attractive individuals in their gym lycra outfits are causing a ripple effect across potential gym visitors?
If we look a little deeper into this report we can perhaps discount the so-called lycra phobia as something created by the mass media in jest. Perhaps we should be looking in the direction of social phobias and how a lack of confidence in particular situations can impact individuals. To many people the thought of exercising next to ultra-fit and attractive gym visitors is just too much to bear. This is not to say this situation would bring on panic attacks or any similar events but the fact that people are uncomfortable in such surroundings is having an impact.
One potential way around this problem is to introduce "same size and same-sex" exercise classes where individuals can exercise with those of a similar build and same sex. If everybody was seen to be in the same situation then this would reduce anxiety and instances of social phobias in this particular environment. Thankfully, many gyms around the world do undertake such focused exercise classes and the feedback would suggest these are very successful.
Is this a confidence issue?
In many ways this can be seen as a confidence issue and the fact that the mass media seem to focus upon attractive and fit individuals especially when promoting exercise services. While easier said than done, the ability to see beyond physical attributes will give you more confidence both in terms of attending your local gym and also having the confidence to use the equipment. Perhaps we all need to accept ourselves as we are, make changes were WE want to, and appreciate that we all have our strong points and weaknesses.
Perhaps the easiest way to overcome so-called gym phobia would be to attend with friends of a similar build and of a similar mindset to you?