Overcoming Fitness Fears
By: Alison Hall
People have many reasons for avoiding certain fitness activities, and one of the most common ones is fear. Read on to learn some tips to overcome common fitness fears.
Have you ever wanted to try climbing but you were afraid of being so far off the ground? The Alpine Tower at The EDGE at Mason, which hosts an open climb the second Sunday of each month, has many different ways to climb. You can start by climbing to the first platform, which is not far off the ground. As your confidence improves, you can attempt to get to the top platform 50-feet off the ground. You are attached to a safety rope the entire time, so even if you do have trouble, there always is a safe way down. When asked about fear of climbing or heights, David Heath, The EDGE Program Manager, quoted Alexandria climber Sasha DiGiulian, “The way I overcome my fear, which I’m still overcoming, is to do exactly what scares me: falling.” The EDGE offers a safe way to face your fears.
You may have read or heard that yoga is good for you, but it may be unnerving to walk into a class as a newcomer. Mason yoga instructor Anne Suarez encourages all newcomers to realize that everyone starts somewhere in terms of fitness and flexibility. There always are modifications that participants can make to their practice to accommodate their needs. She says that the key is to be open to the journey. Yoga is a progression, beneficial to one’s overall health and wellbeing.
If you are confident in your swimming ability in shallow water but fear the deep water, Mason Master’s Swim coach Cheryl Ward suggests you take steps to build your confidence in deep water. Begin by wearing goggles so you can see the bottom of the pool and learning to tread water. You can start with a kickboard first, then swim beside a wall or lane rope so you know you have something to grab onto if you start to panic. Even better, have a friend who is confident in deep water swim beside you. Coach Ward also advises to start swimming in a shallow lane then each day move one lane over toward the deep end.
The Weight Room
If you are unfamiliar with weight training, exercising in the weight room can be intimidating. Mason personal trainer Theresa Boyd recommends you have a workout plan before you enter the weight room. Knowing the routine, how to properly do the exercise, and what the weight, sets, and reps are going to be can increase your confidence as you lift alongside members with more experience. If you are afraid of not knowing how to use the machines, you can get a free equipment orientation from Mason Fitness. If you do not want to enter the weight room alone, bring a friend along. A personal trainer also can help you use the free weights to meet your goals while using proper form. Theresa suggests our “Design Me A Workout” package as a great way to get comfortable with the weight room atmosphere.
Schedules for all of Mason Fitness classes, personal training packets, information about swim classes and Master’s swimming, and reservations for The EDGE at Mason are all available through our website at recreation.gmu.edu. Check out these resources and conquer your fears!