Study points to self-consciousness as biggest factor standing in people's way
MONDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Another New Year's Day looms, and millions of Americans will resolve that this year, they'll exercise and get fit, so why by the end of January are so many of those resolutions broken?
New research may shed some light on the problem.
It's not that people don't know that exercise is good for them and can improve their self-image. Obese and overweight people, in fact, are even stronger believers in the importance of exercise than those of normal weight, according to a survey of more than 1,500 men and women conducted by researchers at George Washington University Medical Center.
But many overweight and obese people loathe the idea of huffing and puffing in front of younger, thinner gym-goers, the poll found. They also feel embarrassed about sweating it out in front of those svelte, muscular health club staffers.
That kind of self-consciousness may affect females more than males. Compared to men of all sizes, women are more likely to feel intimidated about using complicated equipment, to feel pressure to exercise in trendy clothes and to fret about exercising in front of the opposite sex.
So in the end it's emotions, not a lack of determination, that may keep people from regular exercise.
"Overweight people have received the message from their physicians and all the publicity about the importance of exercise," said study author Wayne Miller, a professor of exercise science at George Washington University Medical Center. "Most of the negativism or barriers that are associated with not participating in exercise are emotional, and there are differences between men and women."
The study, to be published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, was funded by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Assoc
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