A third of under 35s feel too self-conscious to join a gym, new survey says

Almost a third of Brits feel that social media is harmful when it comes to gym motivation

Katie O'Malley
Tuesday 15 January 2019 14:43 GMT

A third of 18-35 year olds feel too self-conscious to join a gym, according to a new survey.

According to research from the UK’s largest independent not-for-profit health and wellbeing organisation, Nuffield Health, 22 per cent of participants surveyed said that seeing other people’s gym photos on social media made them feel under pressure to look a certain way.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent of women admitted to wanting people to take more realistic, or less staged, photographs of themselves in the gym, compared to 22 per cent of men.

As a result, almost a third of Brits (32 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men) feel that social media is harmful, rather than helpful, when it comes to motivating people to get fit.

Stephen Macconville, fitness lead at Nuffield Health, says although gym selfies and work out videos from fitness models can be motivating, “it can also hold people back from taking their first foray into a gym”.

The survey also found that 43 per cent of Brits surveyed have witnessed their fellow gym goers taking selfies or photos in the gym.

Nuffield Health surveyed 2,000 participants aged 18-35 with a social media account to find out what holds people back from joining a gym – feelings it refers to as “gymhibitions”.

Aside from feeling intimidated, almost a quarter (23 per cent) admitted to being “worried I’m not fit enough”, 24 per cent are “worried everyone will look at me”, and 11 per cent revealed they “don’t like getting hot and sweaty.”

When asked what would encourage people to join a gym or attend more often, over a quarter (26 per cent) said a tailored exercise plan, with one in five (20 per cent) citing a regular Health MOT to track progress.

In addition, 62 per cent of women said that more realistic images of celebrities or influencers in the gym on social media would encourage younger people looking to improve their health and fitness, compared to 48 per cent of men.

Macconville explains: “Getting fit is a journey which is personal to everyone.

“A Health MOT and regular check-ins with a personal trainer will ensure you’re doing what’s best for you and your body, no matter what your starting level of fitness is. This will help deliver better results than looking to other people or social channels for inspiration.”

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