Most people look forward to going to the gym.
The gym should be a space where you can forget your worries, focus on improving yourself, improving your fitness levels and release stress.
But there are people who go to the gym and feel anxious before they even step foot inside.
If this anxiety isn’t overcome, it can lead to unhealthy habits because it keeps them from developing those healthy habits that start at the gym.
It’s true that exercise can calm anxiety.
If someone has an anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, increasing physical activity can help reduce those feelings of anxiousness or worry.
But in some people, the idea of going to the gym increases anxiety rather than decreases it.
They fear they will be judged for their physical condition or lack of knowledge of fitness equipment or exercise programs.
Symptoms of anxiety range from increased heart rate, sweating and trouble focusing.
It can be severe enough to keep a person from following an exercise program.
If you are someone who struggles with gym anxiety or would like to help someone overcome this feeling, here are a few tips to try.
Talk to someone at the gym
You’re likely not the first person to walk in with gym anxiety.
Sometimes just telling someone, either a staff member or a gym buddy, that going to the gym causes you anxiety is enough to reduce its hold.
This can make you feel less alone.
Don't have a friend that will work out with you?
Ask gym staff if they know a member who would make a good gym buddy.
They can introduce you so you both can help each other as you work on your fitness together.
Do your workouts when the gym isn’t as busy
If your gym anxiety is caused by a fear of judgment, exercise during off-peak times.
Having fewer people around you will allow you to focus on your workout without wondering what others think.
If you're not sure what these times are, ask gym staff when they are less busy and try to plan your workouts then.
Knowing that you have the place largely to yourself can help ease this kind of stress.
Meet with a personal trainer
Trainers do more than create a workout plan.
They also can show you around the weight room or gym floor.
This helps you become more familiar with the facility, making it less intimidating.
A trainer also can teach you how to use the gym equipment.
From cardio machines to strength training equipment
Such as weight machines, just knowing how to use these things can reduce your gym anxiety.
Just having this knowledge can boost your gym confidence because you know how to safely and effectively execute your workout routine.
Even if you only invest in one personal training session
This can go a long way in helping you start and continue with your fitness journey.