Gym-phobia affects thousands of people in Milton Keynes

The new gym equipment at Waterfield Leisure Centre Picture: Tim Williams ENGEMN00120140602143353
The new gym equipment at Waterfield Leisure Centre Picture: Tim Williams ENGEMN00120140602143353
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The fear of being judged is one of the biggest causes of ‘gym-phobia’ in Milton Keynes, according to statistics released today by the British Heart Foundation.

A poll conducted by BHF has revealed 26 per cent of people avoid going to the gym because they feel intimidated by other fitter, more competitive folk.

Second on the list of excuses was not feeling fit enough to start going to the gym in the first place (25 per cent).

This was followed by the fear of what other people would think of them when exercising (24 per cent).

Some 23 per cent of people admitted to not knowing how to use the different exercise machines or not or having the confidence to use them,.

Other gym pet peeves included regulars taking over at the gym, people wearing lycra and grunting whilst exercising, and people showing off.

Lucy Wilkinson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Keeping active is vital to help improve your heart health, so it is concerning that what’s putting so many people off exercise is a fear of being judged about how they look and their level of fitness, and feeling self-conscious around others when exercising.”

But the heart foundation says people don’t have to be a slave to the gym to be more active.

The charity is challenging the nation to take on its brand new MyMarathon challenge to conquer 26.2 miles over the month of May and help fund life saving research.

Lucy said: “Runners can complete the challenge this May in a way that is a challenge for them, whether it’s at the park, during lunchbreaks or around the streets with friends by your side. It can be spread over a few days, a couple of weeks or the whole month – you decide the pace and you decide the place.”

“Everyone should feel proud to exercise knowing they are helping to keep their hearts strong. And now with the MyMarathon challenge you don’t have to be a slave to the gym. You decide the pace and you decide the place, so it’s a great way to get active without feeling intimidated, and help us beat heart disease.”

Heart and circulatory disease affects around seven million people in the UK and is responsible for around 155,000 deaths each year – around one person every three minutes.

Every pound raised from MyMarathon will help the BHF fulfil its ambition to fund half a billion pounds of new research in the next five years, to revolutionise and accelerate the fight against heart disease.

To find out more or to sign up for free to MyMarathon visit www.bhf.org.uk/mymarathon