IN YOUR PRIME: How to conquer gym intimidation

With a new year right around the corner, it’s already time to start thinking about new goals. For a large number of women in retirement, getting in shape is at the top of that goals list. You buy your new workout shoes, invest in a gym membership, and… then what?

For many women, stepping into a crowded gym is high on their list of anxieties.

Facing your gym fears

“One of the most common barriers to working out for women is self-consciousness,” says Jessie Carf, exercise physiologist with Kettering Sports Medicine. “I always tell women: be confident in your abilities. Don’t overthink it.”

When it comes to gym intimidation, a few key tips can help women get a better workout:

  • Go in with a plan. When you go to the gym without an exercise plan, it can be easy to wander around without accomplishing much. When you know exactly what equipment you want to use and for what purpose, it’s much easier to jump right in.
  • Use the buddy system. Working out with a friend is great accountability. And it can help women feel more at ease at the gym. Having someone to engage with during your exercise helps the time pass more quickly and enjoyably.
  • Find your favorite way to move. If you don’t have a workout you enjoy, you probably won’t feel very motivated to go to the gym. Whether it’s a group fitness class, circuit training, lifting weights, or running on the treadmill, figure out what kind of exercise you like so you can stick with it.

Ease your way into changes

If gym intimidation is a barrier for you, don’t let it stop you from working out! “There are always other options,” says Carf. “You can look up at-home Pinterest workouts, find online videos, circuit-train with bodyweight exercises at home. The internet is a great resource in finding more variation with exercise.”

Carf also advises women to find a workout plan that will be sustainable. “Sometimes people will get motivated and vow to run every single day. Well, often, that only lasts two weeks or so and then people experience burnout. Be committed to easing your way into a lifestyle change.”

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