Just thinking about starting a fitness routine or reconnecting with an old one, can unleash feelings of negativity and apprehension before even getting started… Anxiety presents itself in many facets of life, including exercise.
There are many psychological reasons for getting healthy and one may be the social pressures to look a certain way, which gets people uneasy about even heading into a gym or health club, in the first place.
At times we’re striving for the standards set out in society which may feel impossible to achieve. But that negativity and fear of failure keeps some from even attempting to get started.
Some also feel judged by walking into a gym or even the feeling of judgment while working out… some don’t know where to start, some make huge goals that seem impossible to achieve and others just are so insecure about their current physical condition that they feel embarrassed to even try to become healthy.
Anxiety as a whole can present with physical symptoms or psychological symptoms. Some physical symptoms are rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, restlessness, irritability, fatigue & difficulty sleeping. Psychological symptoms would be worry, paranoia, analytical thinking towards negative results or events.
Despite exercise being a highly effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Anxiety is a common reason that keeps people from starting an exercise routine or seeking professional fitness services because of the stress and negativity the thought even causes them.
Here’s some ways to win the struggle against anxiety and worry that may be associated with starting a new fitness routine or joining a gym…
Do research to figure out the proper fitness routine for you.
Initially, you must be thoughtful of how you’re feeling and do what feels right for your body. The anxiety that’s caused prior or during exercise is usually the result of negativity or a fear of failure. There’s always a level of fear or embarrassment because of the unknown, starting something for the first time… with a feeling of judgement from others.
Find the type of fitness routine that is enjoyable to you, whether it’s group classes or individual personal training.. find the right fitness setting that feels best to your psyche.
The less you think about what others are thinking the more you’ll be able to achieve in your own personal goals.
Schedule in advance.
Have a plan for each workout you do. Having structure even in fitness, gives you a feeling of security as well as comfort, because you’re following a plan… Know which equipment you want to use, know what class you want to attend. Giving you a path for your workout.
Give yourself a timeline for your workout as well. Including how long you’re going to do certain fitness equipment, cardio or even the length of your entire workout.
When starting cardio begin with 5 minutes, each session and thereafter try to increase in 30 or 1 minute increments. The thought of running a mile the first time, on a treadmill sounds daunting and unachievable. But thinking of paced progress increases what your body is able to achieve with effort and determination, of course.
Be the only person you compete with.
Once you start comparing yourself with others, whether it’s in real life or on social media, you will start to try to achieve their results instead of goals that are feasible for your starting physical condition and body type. So again instead of focusing on what others are doing or what they think… It’s best to focus on your own goals.
Invest in Activewear.
Yes, buying specific fitness apparel is not necessary and by all means, if you don’t have the budget to do so, avoid attempting to. But if you are able to invest a small amount in attractive active wear that makes you feel confident and ready to attack any fitness routine, by all means, do it!
Make that purchase, because it makes a difference. Having select apparel that was bought and is used for fitness workouts gives you that boost of positivity, because not only do you feel amazing in your active wear, but you also feel that you are in your gym uniform. Ready to kick butt!
Being in denial only increases the problem.
Avoiding the problem, whether it’s weight gain or unhealthy living, only creates increased health problems and or body weight. Just because your mind and your body are not wanting to or feeling like exercise, is no reason to avoid it or allow anxiety to take over. Remind yourself that anxiety and frustration is only temporary, but a healthy physique and a healthy functioning system is something that you will always treasure..
Acknowledge your small milestones along your journey.
Attaching positivity whether it be in small gifts or allowing yourself to buy something you’ve wanted, because you stuck to your fitness routine with the proper frequency and duration, is a wonderful thing. Attaching positivity to exercise in a healthy way, is something that your psyche will respond well to. Therefore, changing any negative feelings or correlations to exercise or fitness that you once had.
Acknowledge your exercise anxiety.
Admit the feelings and emotions you are feeling towards exercise. If you’re feeling workout stress whether it’s before or during, Acknowledge those feelings and repeat those affirmations stated above, as well as positive thoughts and feelings towards working out.
Accept the 1% mentality.
Look at exercise as a slither of your time, of your day. Fifteen minutes is only about 1% of your day. Whatever workout you choose, decide to set aside a few minutes to workout each day.
So many people get wrapped up in an all-or-nothing mindset… But it should be changed to a mindset of something-is-better-than-nothing, no matter how short the length of time you’re able to be active. Incorporating any amount of fitness into your day, will have a beneficial and positive impact on your health and wellness.
Get a friend involved.
Getting a workout buddy is a great thing. They hold you accountable to gym days, as well as initiating and finishing workouts… because of their presence and encouragement. They help you to push harder and achieve difficult goals, because you’re working as a team.
The group aspect of working out with others, psychologically forces you to workout to your full potential. And usually cancels out any negativity or feelings of anxiety, because you are not alone.
Affirmations keep you stable.
Your body hears everything you tell your mind … try these anxiety-reducing affirmations:
My body is progressing.
I’m concentrating on improving my health every day.
My fitness is improving each moment.
My wellness is important to me right now.
I have the right to attain a healthy body & any body type, I wish.
I’m treating my body right.
I am under new construction.
I adore my body.
I believe in my body.
My body is onboard with any goal I set out to achieve.
Combine it with something you enjoy.
Combine exercise with something you enjoy doing. If you pair exercise with something that you already feel positivity about, you look forward to doing it and it tends to build less anxiety around it.
So you could start with listening to your favorite type of music or musical band, while you’re doing weight training or any type of cardio. You could also listen to your favorite audio book or podcast while working out or going for a walk through the neighborhood.
Definitely try these tips to relieve any feelings of stress of anxiety that you many experience during thoughts related to starting any new fitness routine. And then…get started!