Does the mere thought of the gym send shivers down your spine?
You’re not alone.
New research from health promotion foundation, VicHealth has found that Victorian women (and likely Australian women more broadly) avoid the gym regularly– not because they’re scared to work out, but instead because they perceive these environments to be intimidating and non-inclusive.
According to the study, 65 percent of inactive women shun the gym because they feel this way. 71 percent of respondents also reported that gym memberships were too expensive despite 62 percent of mums wishing they had more time to get fit.
As a measure to address these findings, VicHealth is offering $500,000 in funding through its Innovation Challenge Physical Activity focusing on two areas: to ensure council-owned facilities such as parks, pools and gyms become more inclusive for all women; and to make traditional sport more inclusive for less active, disadvantaged and culturally diverse Victorians.
VicHealth’s Acting CEO Dr Lyn Roberts indicated it was high time for gyms and sports clubs to address this gap and to make women more welcome.
“Less than one in three Victorian women get the amount of physical activity they need to be healthy. While gyms can be great places to get active, a staggering number of Victorian women find them too intimidating which is a problem,” Dr Roberts said.
“Women, people from culturally diverse communities and those who are inactive are less likely to play organised sport and are missing out on the physical and social benefits this brings.
“We’re encouraging councils and sports organisations who want to attract less active Victorians to really think about what might be turning people away and what changes they could make themselves to introduce these groups to their sport or recreation facility.”