Top 10 biggest causes of ‘gym-phobia’ in Northern Ireland

BHF NI reveals the top 10 biggest causes of 'gym-phobia' in Northern Ireland.  INLT 18-600-CON
BHF NI reveals the top 10 biggest causes of 'gym-phobia' in Northern Ireland. INLT 18-600-CON

The fear of being judged is one of the biggest causes of ‘gym-phobia’ in Northern Ireland, according to new statistics released as part of British Heart Foundation NI’s new MyMarathon challenge.

Most of us can come up with a plethora of excuses not to go to the gym or exercise. But a new poll has revealed aside from membership costs the main reason people in Northern Ireland avoid going to the gym is feeling intimidated by other fitter people (33 per cent).

Second on the list was regulars always taking over gym equipment (26 per cent), followed by the fear of what other people would think of them when exercising (25 per cent).

Not feeling fit enough to start going to the gym in the first place was another key barrier (25 per cent), as well as not knowing how to use or having the confidence to use different exercise machines (24 per cent).

Other gym pet peeves included people showing off at the gym, as well as people wearing lycra and grunting whilst exercising.

But you don’t have to be a slave to the gym to be more active. BHF NI is challenging everyone to take on its brand new MyMarathon challenge to conquer 26.2miles over the month of May and help fund life saving research.

Runners can complete the challenge this May in a way that’s a challenge for them. Whether it’s at the park, during lunchbreaks or around the streets with friends by your side. Over a few days, a couple of weeks or the whole month – You decide the pace and you decide the place.

Sign up for free at

Lucy Wilkinson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at BHF NI, 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.

“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 7million 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 BHF Northern Ireland 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