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Ping Recreation Center on 82 S Green Dr, Athens, Feb. 5, 2024, in Athens, Ohio

Students battle gym anxiety

Gym anxiety, or gymtimidation, is the fear of exercising in front of others and being unsure of what exercises to do at the gym. According to an article by The New York Post on gym anxiety, in a study of 2,000 Americans, 50% said they view the idea of working out in front of others to be a “daunting prospect.” The article further stated that 31% said they feel anxious when thinking about exercising, as well as 48% are intimidated by the large amount of classes and workouts that exist. 

Although the thought of working out in front of others can be daunting, there are several ways to overcome gym anxiety and become more comfortable working out. The Charles J. Ping Recreation Center at Ohio University offers several workout classes that are free for students to try out, especially those who are gym beginners. According to the Group Fitness Schedule on OU’s website, students can register for group classes such as yoga, cycling and cardio dance. 

Along with the classes, OU also offers membership-only F45 training sessions. Brooke Daudelin, a freshman studying entrepreneurship, discussed how she became an F45 trainer and her views on the program. 

“I heard about the F45 classes at orientation actually, and I was curious to see if I could continue coaching throughout college because I had been a coach at home,” said Daudelin. “I’ve always liked teaching people about functional fitness and everything, so I emailed some people and did an interview in the summer.” 

Daudelin continued to discuss the positive impact the F45 student advisors had on her training experiences and how she is excited to be officially on this semester’s teaching schedule. 

Despite Ping’s resources, students with gym anxiety often find themselves unable to make it to the gym due to the fear of being judged by others. Nate Korduba, a freshman studying pre-med, talked about ways to overcome gym anxiety, giving a fresh perspective to those who are afraid of working out in front of others.  

“I think part of the problem is people think that everybody’s looking at you and judging you,” said Korduba. “In reality, everybody’s focused on their own thing. Sometimes when people look at you, it’s not out of judgment, it’s out of curiosity. They’re trying to find new workouts.” 

Korduba said he observes others in the gym to find different exercises to implement in his own workouts and the positive impact it has had on his weightlifting journey. 

Despite possibly facing the initial anxiety, working out still has many advantages. According to the World Health Organization, “physical activity enhances thinking, learning and judgment skills.” In addition, staying active can also reduce depression and anxiety, boosting endorphins and releasing stress. 

College students can especially become stressed during the school year as they are taking different classes and handling plenty of homework. Daudelin discussed her views on exercising and the positive impact it has had on her mental health. 

“It’s just small, but it makes a big difference in my schedule when I’m taking classes and everything,” Daudelin said. “For me, it’s probably the biggest stress reliever I’ve found on campus.”

Daudelin said exercising has given her something to look forward to during the busy week and overall uplifts her mood and mindset.

Julian Hall, a sophomore studying communications, talked about the influence her job at Ping has had on her exercise journey and how it is a safe environment for every student. 

“It can be kind of intimidating,” Hall said. “But it really is a safe space, once I got comfortable because I walk around and observe so much … It really is nothing to be scared of and I think it’s a great place to go unwind and destress.”


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