5 Tips for Reducing Gym Anxiety

March 23, 2010 Aimee White

I decided I would spend some time implementing important new habits in my life that would help me to be healthier- which in turn would help my anxiety.

Edmund J. Bourne says, "One of the most powerful and effective methods for reducing generalized anxiety and overcoming a disposition to panic attacks is a program of regular, vigorous exercise...Exercise is a natural outlet for your body when it is in the fight-or-flight mode of arousal...Regular exercise also diminishes the tendency to experience anticipatory anxiety toward phobic situations, expediting recovery from all kinds of phobias, ranging from fear of public speaking to fear of being alone."

gymphobiaMr. T and I got gym memberships because they have a daycare and that works best for our little busy body toddler. However, I find myself feeling VERY insecure at the gym. I usually prefer working out at home for this reason, but I didn't realize just how much I cared about it.

The first few times I went I actually put makeup on and did my hair. I bought new workout clothes.

I select my treadmill by finding one in front of a large pillar holding the ceiling up. This way I don't have to be as concerned about people directly behind me watching me. The mirrors on the side portray a dreadful figure staring back at me, and all I can think of is how everyone there is looking at me and laughing.

I noticed not a single person was looking around like I was. Everyone was focused on their workout. Why couldn't I?

I turn on some tunes to try to distract my thoughts, but my eyes are continually looking around. My arm gets caught on my headphones and pulls my ipod out of the container and it falls on the treadmill and conveyors to the floor. So mortifying! I guess it could have been worse. I could have fallen and conveyed to the floor.

"What levels has she set on her treadmill? She is so pretty, I am so embarrassed to be near her! I have no clue what I am doing. Should I have worn this?"

I don't want to give into the insecurities and cancel my membership because I know that will only feed my fears and make it harder to go in the future. So I plan to stick it out until I feel comfortable working out by myself alongside all the beautiful toned women.

So I decided to do some research. I found these tips to help with gym anxiety:

1. Take a friend with you.

2. Some ways to be distracted: Listen to music, watch the television if they have them, or read a book while walking on the treadmill.

3. Take a tour beforehand. When you sign up for a new gym, they will usually allow you to take a tour of the exercise room before you actually go in there to workout. Some gyms also give you a guide for your visit to show you how to work the machines and weights in the gym.

4. Wear something comfortable. This will help you feel better about yourself.

5. Don’t look in the mirrors if you can help it. I was reading a study the other day that said people who go to gyms with mirrors in the workout room are less likely to keep going to the gym, so I don’t even know why they still put mirrors in there, but if you can help it, don’t look in the mirrors while you workout.

I also need some newer workout songs for my ipod- any good suggestions?

Do you ever feel insecure at the gym? What do you do to reduce the anxiety?

APA Reference
White, A. (2010, March 23). 5 Tips for Reducing Gym Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Aimee White

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