Tuesday, January 17

Want to get fit in 2023? You’re not alone having gym anxiety – here’s how to beat it!

Planning on getting fit this year? You’re not alone. According to research from YouGov, of the 21% of Brits who say they are making New Year's resolutions for 2023, 53% want to do more exercise—47% of men and 57% of women in all.

As part of this, millions will be signing up for gyms in an effort to shed pounds and bulk up muscle, but new research has found that lots of people—women in particular—find visiting the gym an anxiety-inducing experience.

Gym anxiety: what does the research say?

European lingerie specialists Hunkemöller wanted to find out how many found that a big chunk of people suffer from gym anxiety. They found that, by looking at Google Search Trends data, searches relating to “gym confidence” had risen 1,600% in a year, with “getting over gym anxiety” up 300% in the same period.

To delve deeper into the results, they surveyed 2,000 UK adults to find out their anxieties relating to the gym. They found that 28% of women felt anxious in a gym environment, compared to just 16% of men. 61% of these women said they’d feel better at a female-only gym.

The main reasons behind this anxiety also differed greatly. For women, the top sources of anxiety were lack of knowledge regarding exercises and form (26%), feeling uncomfortable (26%), and a feeling of being stared at by others (22%). For men, 19% felt uncomfortable in gym surroundings, 17% were intimidated by gym equipment (17%), and 16% were unsure of whether their form and exercises were correct.

Are different cities more female-friendly when it comes to gyms?

Hunkemöller then set out to analyze which city was the best for women looking for a female-only workout space. Shockingly, in the 15 cities looked at, there were just 73 women-only gyms, with each catering to tens or hundreds of thousands of women. The results were as follows:

UK City

Number of female residents per women's only gym or workout space'






























No gyms within 3 miles of the city center

The worst city on the tables, Southampton, saw 49% of women surveyed saying they wanted a female-only gym space. There are currently none available in the city though.

5 ways to combat gym anxiety

If you want to reduce your feelings of gym anxiety and aren’t lucky enough to live close to a female-only gym, thankfully there are lots of things you can do to feel more at home:

Visit with a friend – Heading to the gym with a mate, or in a group, can make you feel less exposed and alone while working out.

Focus on yourself – Feeling self-conscious is very common in a gym setting, but it’s really important to recognize that others in the gym are focusing on their workout, not yours. Focus on your goals instead.

Get the right gear – Getting gym gear that makes you feel confident while you wear it can make a world of difference to gym anxiety.

Attend classes – A class environment, where you’re with like-minded people doing an activity you know, can help you feel more at home.

Be consistent – If you regularly go to the gym, over time you’ll feel like part of the furniture instead of feeling you’re sticking out.

Do you suffer from gym anxiety? Have you overcome your feelings and now feel at home in the gym? Let us know your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments section below.
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