A new survey by Sport England has revealed why UK mums aren’t stepping into gyms. According to research, two million fewer women than men take part in sport and regular exercise, and according to experts there are three core factors holding women back, namely; concerns over appearance, ability and whether women will, as mothers, be judged for putting themselves first.
In summation, mums aren’t doing gym because we’re afraid of being judged – because we’re not good enough, in shape enough or equipment-proficient enough and worst of all… because we’re worried that other people will think we’re bad parents for taking time to look after our health.
What would be interesting to know is whether these fears are founded on actual experience or perception – are we really that critical of one another or are mums feeling an instinctual guilt that comes from doing anything that requires leaving our child in the care of another?
The media punts perfection at us from every angle and although parent blogs have gone a long way to circumvent the whole ‘super mum’ thing, they perpetuate their own sort of criticism. Forums and blogs often ooze the vitriol of mums needing to express their parenting style at the world, and other mums. So, really it’d make sense to assume that mums who’d like to go to gym are probably facing the challenge of overcoming preconceived ideas that are both fact and fiction – we might face the criticism of various factions of society but probably not as much as we might think.
Ultimately, as with most things in life, we have to give it a go in spite of the adversities we might face. The good news is that there are a whole bunch of us floating in the same boat. Perhaps if more of us took the plunge into the scary world of exercise, gym would be a happier more mum-filled place!
What stops you from hitting the gym?