Overcoming Exercise Fears in Overweight and Obese Women

Yes, You Can!

When I walk around the neighborhood, I worry that everyone is laughing at me.

  • I can’t keep up with Sally when we’re biking. It makes me feel inadequate.
  • I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself playing volleyball so I don’t even try.

Recognize any of these thoughts? For many of us, these types of exercise fears form significant barriers to feeling good about moving our bodies. But if we start living in the present moment and begin to appreciate what our bodies were designed to do for us, we may come to understand that exercising is a treat. Our bodies are designed to want to move. The following information can help us adjust our thinking to succeed in overcoming exercise fears and beginning to feed our bodies what they want.

Exercise Fear: Injury or Pain

When beginning an exercise program or participating in an activity that you’re not used to (such as hiking, for example), questions about the possibility of injury or pain are valid. You can minimize problems with the necessary precautions that can go a long way towards overcoming exercise fears.

  • Warm up & stretch. Increases flexibility, which is valuable to prepare the body and the mind for more strenuous activity.
  • Recognize limits. What are you truly capable of doing at this time? Do only as much as your body can handle during a particular activity.
  • Be prepared. With the proper footwear, clothing and materials necessary to participate in the activity you’re planning to do.
  • Learn and practice. Know the proper form and technique for the specific type of physical activity you are going to participate in. Questions? Ask a professional to clear up confusion.

Exercise Fear: Looking “Ridiculous”

If you haven’t noticed already, few of us look glamorous when we’re exercising. Looking great isn’t the focus. It’s about enjoying the beauty of nature, appreciating our bodies and therefore treating them well by moving them. It’s about feeding our souls and having positive energy to use throughout the day. We sweat, our faces get flushed, and sometimes we even stumble on the trail, track or treadmill. These things happen to everyone. The good news is that rarely does anyone judge us more than we judge ourselves. So when we think how “ridiculous” we might look, it’s time to remember the primary reason we are being physically active and allow ourselves to enjoy it without negative judgments about how we look.

If thoughts of a gym or other co-ed fitness center keeps you on the couch, consider an all-women’s place. Green Mountain at Fox Run is one such retreat dedicated to helping women get physically active to feel better and feel better about themselves.

Exercise Fear: Comparison

Remember, no one ever started out by climbing Mount Everest – it’s important to keep our goals realistic. As we begin new activities, we need to allow ourselves time to practice and become comfortable with them. It can help to set small goals along the way to reaching larger ones. These small successes feed our drive to push through and continue. Persistence is key to success.

Enjoying the wonders of movement can help us succeed in overcoming exercise fears. Then it will be us looking back thinking, “I did it!”

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