Negative emotions prevent people from exercising regularly in health clubs, a new study has revealed.
Researchers at The George Washington University Medical Center explored and compared the barriers associated with regular exercise in health clubs between overweight and normal weight individuals.
They found that overweight individuals believed exercise improved appearance and self image more than normal weight individuals.
In addition, overweight individuals felt more embarrassed and intimidated about exercising, exercising around young people, exercising around fit people, and about health club salespeople than individuals of normal weight.
Overweight and normal weight individuals felt the same about exercising with the opposite sex, complicated exercise equipment, exercise boredom, and intention to exercise.
The study also found that the demographics of older age and overweight Caucasians (versus overweight non-Caucasians) had more of an effect on exercise intent than did weight.
Most notably, the heavier the subject's weight, the lower his or her perception of health.
In other words, for the overweight, sedentary person, the negative emotions associated with health club exercise may be stronger in controlling regular exercise than the intellectual facts.
"One of the most noteworthy findings of this study was that OW [overweight] and NW [normal weight] subjects did not differ in their overall attitude toward exercising at a health club," the authors said.
"This similarity in overall attitude of the OW and NW to club exercise is somewhat surprising, in that it is often assumed that OW people do not exercise as much as NW people because the 2 groups have different attitudes about exercise.
"The behaviour theories that propose that attitude drives the intent to exercise describe attitude as an evaluation of positive versus negative. If this is the case, then, it is important to minimize the negative and maximize the positive in order to promote the desired behaviour," they added.
The study appears in the January/February 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour.