Overcoming Your Fear of Exercise – Especially For Seniors and Beginners


Fear of exercise can be a problem for beginners or seniors who have not made exercise a part of their daily lives. Seniors especially may have the mistaken idea that exercise is something that young people do not older adults. The fact is that seniors should make exercise an essential part of their lives, because it's that important to their health and quality of life. Fear can be overcome with a little bit of education and a willingness to try new things.

Here are some common fears that many people have:

Joining a gym

Joining a gym can be intimidating if you've never been to one before. Try taking a friend or family member with you the first couple of times you go to the gym. Talk to a staff member and ask them to show you around and explain the layout and equipment used. Sign up for a personalized workout schedule suited to your goals and fitness level.

Buying Exercise Equipment

If you are buying equipment for working out at home, the choices may seem overwhelming. Consider price, location within your home, and goals when purchasing equipment. When starting out, it's a good idea to use just a few pieces of equipment or none at all. You would be surprised how many exercises you can do without any equipment.

An exercise mat and maybe a few pounds of dumbbells would be a great start. As you gain fitness and confidence in your routine you can always gradually add equipment as you see fit.

Working Out

Working out can be a confusing thing for many simply because they do not know what exercises to do, or how to do them. If you are a complete beginner you have some options: You can buy books or DVDs on exercise and fitness which illustrate how to do various exercises; you can check books and DVDs from your local library; you can ask a gym trainer or personal trainer to show you how to do the exercises. The main thing is to make sure that you know how to safely perform an exercise before you do it. The above resources can help you learn how to work out properly without injury.

Also, consider wearing comfortable clothing and a good pair of shoes to work out in. You want to be able to move freely and as comfortable as possible.

Afraid That Exercise Will Hurt

As long as you pay attention to your form as you exercise, which includes having good posture and concentrating on the movements, you should not worry too much about injury. When doing weight lifting the main thing to consider is the amount of weight you are using. Obviously, starting out with very light weights and typically working up to heavier weights is essential. Warm up with light exercise such as walking on a treadmill, or jogging in place can help reduce the amount of soreness you may experience.

The only other concern might be some muscle soreness that might happen if you do happen to use a little too much weight or too many repetitions in your exercises. In that case, all you need to do is to cut back a little bit on the repetitions or the weights the next time. Muscle soreness at first is sort of a good thing. It means that your muscles are glad to be working again.

Afraid To Make Mistakes Or Look Stupid

Once you set foot in a gym, you might look around at the various gym members and think that you'll look dumb as you try to master the equipment. Having a staff member or trainer to walk you through your routine can help you here. Even a workout buddy who has more experience than you can be at your side to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. If the exercise seems too complicated, just ask to try something different to take its place. As you get more used to being at the gym you can try other equipment as you gain confidence.

Afraid You'll Injure Yourself By Doing The Wrong Thing

Before you begin any routine of exercise, be sure of what your goals are. Maybe you are trying to lose some weight. You would then concentrate more on aerobic exercises. Or, maybe you want to gain a little more muscle to help burn some fat. Then, you would include weight and resistance type of exercises. Most people will use a combination of the two depending on their goals. Consulting with your doctor is a wise step to take as you plan out what you are going to do.

The bottom line is to create a program that you can live with on a day-to-day basis. You do not have to start a complicated routine to begin with. Get some assistance in setting up your first program; either from the previously mentioned books or DVDs, or from a personal trainer. Start out small and increase your workouts over time. If you take the time to plan your workouts you should not have any fear of exercising. The benefits to your overall health and wellbeing are worth the time and effort.

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