BRITS hate working out in public as they fear they look unfit, sweaty and don’t have the right clothes or equipment, a study has found.
More than two thirds of 2,000 adults claimed they’re happiest when exercising alone, with four in 10 fearing they won’t be able to last the duration of a class.
In recent months over the pandemic, people have been exercising solo, running on the streets, park or taking up cycling.
And it also emerged 42 per cent of prefer exercising alone as they can follow their own schedule, rather than keeping up with other people.
A third felt they were able to concentrate better, while 37 per cent like to be alone with their thoughts.
And one fifth of adults polled by Vision Direct, which commissioned the study, worry about being judged by others.
Fitness coach and model Jon Hosking said: “Working out alone can be a hugely rewarding and effective endeavour.
"By doing so, you are taking complete control, allowing for more specific focus and to lock in on particular goals you have while dealing with fewer distractions.
“My advice would be to walk before you can run! If you’re building your solo workout routine, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew, rushing into big, whole body moves before you are ready or correctly warmed up.
“Build your programme with patience in mind, make sure it’s something you can stick to, work on the correct execution of moves and this will all help to stave off any potential injury.
Top tips to kickstart your exercise regime
1. What’s your starting point?
A good talk test can help you get an idea about your current fitness level, as well as measure your stamina. Can you walk briskly whilst holding a conversation? This can also be handy to test how your exertion levels build up in-between workouts.
2. Comfort is everything: do you have the right gear?
Having the right workout clothes and footwear is key. It’s also important to enjoy freedom of movement so you can focus on exercising, so we recommend removing your glasses and wearing contact lenses. That way, you won’t have to deal with foggy glasses, they won’t break and cause accidents and you’ll gain good peripheral vision.
3. What are your priorities and goals?
It’s good to have purpose to your training, without setting a ceiling. Are you exercising to lose weight, gain muscle mass, improve core stability, agility or coordination? A goal focuses the mind and activates your energy to go and achieve.
4. Are you taking time out for stretching?
Stretching is a fundamental part of exercise and your well-being and you are far more likely to adhere to a programme and keep a routine if you are supple, with a good range of motion, free from aches and pains, void of injuries.
5. Are you keeping a record of your workouts?
Are your goals noted down and are you keeping track of your progress? Keeping yourself accountable when it’s just you can be difficult and seeing progress and improvement can act as a huge incentive and motivation to keep going.
6. What does your routine look like?
Mapping out the ideal week of activity is a good idea. You need to assign and make time to work out, working around your schedule.
7. What are your non-negotiables for working out and moving?
Is there anything in your training routine that you can do without? Understanding that can help you make a base layer when it comes to your fitness programme.
8. Are you a part of an online workout community?
Have a look at online workout communities. You can maintain your anonymity if you’d like, and it will help you feel connected with others that are on the same boat.
9. Is your diet helping or hindering you working out?
You are more likely to stick to a programme of working out alone if you are correctly energised and then fully recovered. Ensure you are getting the right balance of carbs, fats and proteins in your meals and the necessary micronutrients and vitamins.
10. Is this making you happy?
This is the most important one: exercise does not have to be gruelling. We should look to enjoy it with the goal of it making us physically and mentally happier than we were before we started.
“And be mindful when you work out alone and listen to your body. You should not be suffering through your exercise. Always make sure you’re wearing the right gear and feel comfortable.”
The study found 27 per cent people didn’t feel comfortable working out in groups until they ‘lost a few pounds’, while 13 per cent said they wanted to be fit enough to train and talk at the same time.
Being able to run a mile without walking is the goal for 16 per cent of adults, while 17 per cent want to confidently exercise without panting all the way through.
Working out alone can be a hugely rewarding and effective endeavour
Some 11 per cent want to be able to do a decent number of sit ups or press ups, while 12 per cent want to cycle uphill without stopping.
But as many as 23 per cent of adults admit they just need to stop caring so much about what other people think.
However there are drawbacks of exercising alone, with 29 per cent of those who do admitting they would probably work harder with someone else pushing them.
Four in 10 adults polled via OnePoll said it’s much harder to self-motivate for a solo session, and 31 per cent have been known to give themselves a day off rather than battle on through.
A further fifth say having no one to offer help and guidance can be a hindrance – increasing the risk of injury, doing things wrong, or using the wrong equipment, such as wearing a helmet if needed or sometimes simply swapping from glasses to contact lenses.
To battle any concerns about solo exercise, and starting a new programme, Vision Direct has teamed up with fitness expert Jon Hosking to create top-tips on how to get started with exercise, including creating a plan based on current fitness levels, goals and time available.
And if you wonder which exercise might be right for you – this online quiz here may help.
Clara Sanzol, from Vision Direct said: “There are many reasons why people don’t want to exercise with others, and it’s interesting to see participants are so concerned about not looking the party – either by looking silly in their workout gear, or by having the wrong workout gear.
“As illustrated by Jon’s tips, it is important for exercisers to have supportive gear, comfortable training shoes, and most importantly, appropriate eye wear to ensure things can be done safely and effectively.
“We find many people opt for contact lenses for exercise as an alternative to glasses, which can be knocked off, broken or even slide down the nose when sweating.
“Feeling good in your workout kit can help build your confidence and encourage people to shed their worries about exercising with others.”
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