It’s officially the season for ghouls, goblins and things that go “bump” in the night. For many people, however, the real thing to fear – this season and every season – is exercise. Considering how beneficial it can be to our health, it’s a wonder we aren’t all working out much more often. Still, whether it’s a fear of failing, a perceived lack of time or a sheer reluctance to be physically active, millions of us aren’t getting enough exercise. Fortunately, with the right motivation and the proper mindset, the fear of working out is one that can be overcome.
Cheryl Land, assistant director of the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook, says the reasons for being afraid of working out are plentiful “First and foremost, it all depends upon the individual,” Land said. “Some reasons people are afraid to work out can include a fear of looking silly, a fear of getting hurt or of health complications, a fear of comparing oneself to others who may be more fit, a fear of committing to an exercise program or facility, or a general fear of failure. Sometimes, people are afraid of success and how their lives will change if they become more fit. Other times, the time commitment is perceived as an issue,” she explained.
“With regard to the time commitment, it all depends on a person’s goals,” Land said. “Exercising for good health, for instance, takes a different amount of time than training to run a particular distance or to compete in a triathlon. The American College of Sports Medicine standards are the most-current, and are based on indisputable scientific evidence. They recommend that most adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. How one breaks those minutes down can be as simple as 10 minutes of exercise, 3 times per day for 5-6 days per week. Gradually increasing the frequency, intensity and time of your exercise bouts gives the least amount of risk and the greatest chances for making exercise a successful reality in one's daily life,” she explained. “In addition to daily exercise, it’s important to try to avoid a sedentary lifestyle by not sitting for long periods of time watching television or using the computer. Being too sedentary, in general, is a health risk,” she added.
Land also offers some tips for getting started on an exercise routine. “Start by getting up earlier each day and getting more sleep at night,” she said. “It also can be valuable to ask your family for support, perhaps by getting them to go on walks with you. You also can exercise with friends, and consider hiring a personal trainer to help you set realistic goals for yourself. Sometimes, physical activity goals require some research before you actually get started. This can help answer the questions of ‘who, what, when, where, how and why’ you want to become physically active. Making a plan can help you develop a comfort level to get started and to stay on track,” she explained. “After planning, the main secret is to simply do the physical activity. It also helps to get into a routine with your exercise, and stick to it,” she added.
Part of no longer being afraid of working out is recognizing and avoiding the potential pitfalls. "Pitfalls are bound to happen because life happens,” Land said. “It helps to have a plan with some built-in flexibility. For instance, if you can’t work out today, be sure to try to make that up tomorrow. Make it a priority for yourself. Develop a plan of action, and remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to make adjustments,” she said. “Keep your daily mindset positive and healthy. When you fail at something, don’t berate yourself; simply start again and again and again,” she added.
The Blount Memorial Wellness Centers offer a variety of options and programs to help you overcome the fear of working out. “Wellness Center staff members are educated in exercise science and health education, and are qualified to help people make decisions to achieve healthy fitness and lifestyle goals,” Land said. “Members receive a health assessment to measure heart rate, current strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and body composition. This is great information because you can see your areas of strength, as well as those areas where improvement is needed. With this information, our fitness specialists develop a program of exercise that meets our participants’ needs,” she added.
For more information, to schedule a tour or to receive a free pass, contact the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook at 865-980-7100, or the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Cherokee at 865-238-6091.