This isn’t new, but since I’ve been posting about exercise recently I thought it was relevant. A Temple University study of 278 women who were enrolled in an exercise-encouragement program comes this gem on comfort levels with exercise:
The women completed a questionnaire when the study began and during three- and 12-month follow-up assessments. The questionnaire dealt with mental barriers to exercise, including:
- Feeling self-conscious.
- Not wanting to fail.
- Fearing injury.
- Perceived poor health.
- Having minor aches and pains.
- Feeling too overweight to exercise.
At every assessment, the obese women reported greater barriers to exercise than their normal weight counterparts. The barriers that the obese women identified at the beginning of the study predicted how much they would be exercising at the 12-month follow-up.
Gee. Really? Social stigma might affect our willingness to engage in an activity?
The press release starts with a reference to arachnophobes finding it difficult to kill a spider scurring across the floor and that fear of flying keeps people off planes. The lead researcher is quoted by saying these problems “may sound like excuses” before suggesting that “tailoring programs to maneuver around these barriers is the key to curbing some of that aversion”.
The ones that have tended to bother me have been:
#1, feeling self-conscious, which oddly enough I feel self-conscious about admitting. I think it’s partly the “why do I assume other people care what I’m doing?” and partly that admitting embarrassment is embarrassing on some level.
#5, minor aches and pains, which I figure includes the “OMG OW” feeling I get when I go on a 3-mile walk after not exercising for six months.
Lately I’ve also been plagued by #3, fearing injury. Some ways I’ve dealt with this in the past are to:
- Work out at home and/or alone, or with supportive friends or family;
- Starting slowly and increasing gradually;
- Expect some muscle soreness and be ready to coddle myself a bit;
- Starting with strength training, because I see faster improvement there than with other forms of exercise, which is a happy thing.
What works for you?