Are you self conscious about your body weight? If so, trust me, you aren’t alone.

A recent survey done by the United Kingdom mental health organization has surveyed 1,450 women 30 years and older, about how they exercise. A staggering 90% of those women feel uncomfortable working out outdoors.

90 percent. How crazy is that?

The survey found that 71% preferred being alone and eating comfort food rather than exercising, 66% would rather go to bed, and 57% enjoyed social exercise rather than physical exercise. Yet of the group, 98% were aware of the physical and emotional benefits that exercising outdoors offered.

This survey made me wonder, if you’re reluctant to exercise when it’s sunny and warm outside, how willing are you to exercise at all?

Here are some reasons for why women felt ashamed to exercise outdoors:

  1. Women felt uneasy about being able to keep up with a group.
  2. They were worried about negative reactions that their bodies would have to the environment (i.e. sweating, being out of breath).
  3. 2/3 of the group only wanted to exercise in locations where they would not be seen by anyone that they know.
  4. 67% reported that they felt they needed to wear baggy clothes in an attempt to hide their bodies.


Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks, a company designed to help women celebrate their bodies, had this to say:

“The images of perfect body women needs to be replaced with active women of all shapes and sizes that are up and moving. Active people are much healthier regardless of weight and this message, though proven in research is not yet mainstream in society.”

Are you intimidated by the outdoors?

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  1. Leo the Yardie Chick

    My concerns are more for safety reasons, since there have been a lot of hold-up robberies in my area lately. In fact, I thought that would be the main point highlighted in the article. I must say, though, I’m not surprised that it’s body image issues that’s keeping these women from exercising outdoors (but I am saddened).

    • @Leo the Yardie Chick: I agree I think safety outdoors would be a great article. I have purchased red blinking clip-ons for my shoes to keep vehicular traffic aware of my presence, I tell my husband which of several routes I’ll take so no one will track me. I have a small cell holder with my husband’s and mom’s phone number just in case I’m injured. I strapped the cell home to my ankle and always have my GPS application ‘on’

  2. I thought I was the only one that had this problem!

  3. I’m not 30 yet and I wouldn’t call myself self-conscious, but I don’t always like exercising outside. Typically, exercising outside elicits too many whistling, cat-calling, and unnecessary comments from men, even when I have on a baggy T-shirt. I prefer to do my exercising in the gym. When I am in the mood to jog outside, it is usually early in the morning on the bike trails near my house where there is less people around.

    • @K.C: Agreed. My physique elicits too much of the wrong kind of attention enough as it is. Working out with less than the perfect body most on this forum seem to expect is hassle enough that it isn’t terribly encouraging to think I have to cope with an environment while having to deal with men’s “gaze”, catcalling, and staring all the time.

      I am working to overcome years of poor eating habits and many of the health problems that come with such poor habits. I didn’t get heavy overnight, and I won’t become healthy overnight. So my allergies, strength and endurance limitations and the like are all things which must be gradually adjusted for positive results through consistency. Since the lovely outdoors isn’t known for being lovely ALL the time, how can such consistency be achieved?

      If the point is health, then a by-any-means-necessary approach means that I need to do whatever is necessary to get myself into exercising regularly and progressively. Regardless of the place I do it, if I’d like a bit more control over my environment to get things done, my resolve to do it shouldn’t be questioned because I don’t do it outside.

      “This survey made me wonder, if you’re reluctant to exercise when it’s sunny and warm outside, how willing are you to exercise at all?”

      Really, Shane? I’m disappointed.

      I frankly find this type of thinking a to be closed minded and judgmental. You don’t know anyone else’s struggle, and seem to take quite a bit for granted in thinking that there is something wrong with anyone who doesn’t choose to work out in rain, hail, sleet, snow, desert heat, rank humidity or whatever else Mother Nature can dream up.

      I don’t knock people who are outside exercising all the time. Why should they knock me?

      The one-upmanship is foolish and insecure thinking.

  4. I have no anxiety about working out outdoors.

  5. My only concern about outdoor fitness is my safety. Sometimes I’m so in my zone with my music and euphoria of being a plus size girl moving her stuff I lose sight that I am outside and still need to be aware of my surroundings

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