How to overcome exercise phobia

Monday June 14 2021

Sometimes, if you are the shy type that avoids crowds, all you need to do is go it alone.

By Joan Salmon

The fears of what lies ahead, despite resolving to work out more, may fail us to get beyond the promises we make. 

However, you should not fail to start that new exercise regimen, or join a fitness class because you are being held back by fears. Here is how you can achieve your victory.

Exercising is costly

Many associate working out with going to the gym or hiring an expensive fitness trainer. 

Jackson Mivule, a fitness enthusiast shares that high gym costs, or even currently, the closure of some gyms, and the costly exercising gear may cause one to give up. 

“However, there are several creative as well as free ways to keep your resolution feasible. One of these is working within the comfort of your home. There are several fitness drills to do while there such as skipping, taking a brisk walk around your compound, and planks.” 


In case you do not know how to do a certain exercise, Mivule suggests that you watch exercise videos.

I am not fit

One of the reasons one exercises is to get fit or at least, the outcome. Therefore, Nathan Kalema, a fitness trainer, says it is important to focus on your current fitness level. 

“Appreciate that you are starting out and at whatever level you are at, there are several work outs you can do. Besides, as you diligently exercise, you will get better and be able to do more. 

Kalema shares that setting realistic targets will help one move up the fitness ladder. 

“An example is having an ambitious goal of walking a 10 km journey but start by walking for 10 minutes every day as you build the momentum and prepare your body.”

In cases where you need a boost to keep going, asking a friend to join you is an option. 

“We all need cheerleaders in life and exercising is no different. Having a friend besides you will help you forget about all your insecurities and have fun while you achieve your goal,” he says. 

I do not have time

Our world is fast-paced and the demands are enormous. 

However, exercising touches a core part of our lives thus crucial. 

Mivule says when you exercise, you can sleep better, you lessen the effects of stress and with that you will be productive. 

“Like you would make time for a meeting, do the same for exercising because it is crucial. It could start by creating a timetable so you can free up redundant time and turn it into working out time. It also helps to turn some times, such as your journey home into a workout time if the road is safe for a walk. Another could be jogging, doing lunges or squats rather than sit as your child plays football. The options are several and you can turn any redundant time into exercise time,” Mivule says. 

I am shy

It could be that you are older and thus weaker or your body shape is dowdy compared to those you are working out with. 

Whatever the cause of feeling inferior, Patrick Lulika, a fitness enthusiast, shares that it is time to work through them to get to where you desire to get. 

“The problem is that we feed our failures rather than our success. That is a terrible thing because then we fail to appreciate the milestones yet it is important to do so regardless of the size so we get energised to move forward,” Lulika says, starting small as one moves towards the bigger goal is the way to go to foster confidence.  

“Then the love handles will go, the flabby stomach will reduce. That also comes with diligence, and being kind to yourself to appreciate that you tried even when you fail.” 

Family,  friends are not supportive

Your loved ones will not always appreciate the decisions you take, but if you are certain they are good, you might just have to take the journey all by yourself. In this case, choosing to focus on improving your health is worth doing and no one can do it for you. 

Kalema shares that getting like-minded friends will help make this journey easier. 

“Friends that feel betrayed because you missed a night out despite explaining to them that you were exercising may not help you here. Like minded friends will also hold you accountable and support you in achieving your goal of exercising.”

I am wary of injuries

Looking at one with a sprained knee got during a workout may scare another from continuing to work out. However, with exercising, Lulika says when starting out, it is wise to start small. “This will allow your body get used to exercising. When this is done, one will easily avoid injuries that happen due to muscle strain. Additionally, getting rest days in between your working out will allow the muscles rest and repair well.” He adds that getting a personal trainer to guide you on which exercises are ideal and how best to do them will help you prevent avoidable injuries.

Keep trying

I cannot help the negative self-talk

It starts with one thought that you give room to grow by thinking on it. Mivule says it is important to feed on thoughts that better us rather than those that pull us down if we are to make any progress in life. “Listen to positive affirmations as you work out so that you occupy your mind with uplifting information.”

People will judge me

Oftentimes, people think others are looking at them as they work out. That causes them to be self conscious and even fail to join any fitness group. However, Kalema says it is a fallacy as people are focused on themselves. “To overcome these insecurities, connect with those that do things better than you and ask for help. You never know, you may also share a thing or two with them.”