Some studies annoy me, some delight, and most often, they make me roll my eyes a little. But a new one from a UK mental health charity ‘Mind’ just makes me really sad: According to their survey, nine out of 10 women over 30 won’t exercise outside because they’re ashamed of their bodies. And the worst part? The majority of them also felt that, if they showed up to a group exercise class, other women would be unwelcoming and exclusive. To which we say: Boo.
Women were worried about everything from their appearance to their ability to do a workout well. Of the 1,450 women surveyed by Mind, two-thirds felt self-conscious about their bodies while working out in public, 65% thought they wouldn’t be able to keep up in an exercise group, and 60% were nervous about how their bodies react to exercise (sweating, passing gas, turning red, etc.).
These stats are obviously bad news for women’s physical health, but they’re also pretty discouraging for our mental health. Despite the fact that outdoor exercise can be as effective as many antidepressants, most would choose the following activities over exercise when feeling depressed:
- Eating comfort food (71%)
- Being alone (71 %)
- Social networking (57%)
- Going to bed (66%)
- Listening to sad music (32%)
At these times you can feel like the only person in the world experiencing this, but Mind’s research highlights that far from being alone, 90 percent of women are in exactly the same boat. It’s time we start talking about how exercise makes us feel. We urge women to take the first step, invite a friend on a nature date and begin to support each other in taking care of our mental well-being.
Photo: Total Woman