Women are putting off getting fit because they think it is more important to be attractive than active, a finding has revealed.
The research, conducted by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, polled more than 2,000 women.
The analysis of the study found that a quarter were not interested in physical exercises because they didn't like the way they looked when they were working out or playing sport.
A quarter of women who were questioned blamed the way they were taught games at school for their dislike of physical activity, 60 per cent said they preferred non- competitive exercise.
In addition, half said that they felt there was more pressure to be thin than to be healthy.
Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the foundation, which conducted the poll, said that the way women are portrayed in fashion and the media makes them feel greater pressure to be thin rather than fit.
'The way women are portrayed in fashion and the media makes them feel greater pressure to be thin rather than fit. Girls think it is more important to be attractive than active, and many are inhibited from exercising because of low body confidence,' the Daily Mail quoted Tibballs, as saying.
'It's time we provided women with the activities and facilities they want, where they want and when they want.
'There is a fitness crisis and it's set to get much worse.' Tibballs said.
Government guidelines have suggested that women and men should do five half-hour bouts of exercise a week in order to stay healthy, which might range from light jogging to a cardio-vascular workout.
However, the research showed that while 60 per cent of women believed they did enough exercise, only 20 per cent actually did it.