Fitness and sports are two of the least prioritised activities for the average Indian, more so, for women in India who hold misconceptions that are far from the truth. Here are four reasons women refrain from going to the gym and why they should hit it right away. By Ridhika Bora
“I Don’t Want to Look Muscular”
The biggest misconception that women in India hold is that gymming, more particularly weight lifting for women, leads to building a muscular physique like men.
Fact: No matter how heavy your weights are, you cannot develop muscles like men, and it comes down to simple biology. Men and women have different hormones governing the development of their bodies. While testosterone in men have anabolic effects to aid muscle and tissue building and increase in bone density,women have only traces of testosterone (though it may differ from person to person) and their body is governed by progesterone.
Women at the gym if wants to build muscle, they’d have to spend years training vigorously and beat genetics. Unless of course, you put yourself on protein supplements or steroids to achieve that physique.Weight-lifting only helps strengthen muscles and lowers the risk of injuries—equally important for both men and women.
Equating Household Activities to Workout.
If you’re a homemaker who dedicates hours into running the household wheel and considers gym workout unnecessary, drop everything and read this now.
Fact: What you consider exercise is actually the regular activity that your body expects from you every day. It is the ‘stagnation point’ that even the most regular gym-goers reach when they have followed the same strenuous workout routine for months. They stop losing weight or gaining muscle. To get themselves out of the stagnation, they change their usual routine or increase the intensity. This is exactly what your body needs too! Start with a 45-minute walk, move on to light body-weight exercises, and graduate to the gym after that.
The Fear of Judgement That Gnaws into Your Confidence.
A lot of women in India avoid the gym because they fear judgement, and since women are inherently more conscious about their appearance than men, they would avoid anything that made them vulnerable in public.
Fact: Realise that everybody at the gym is on their own journey, with their own goals to chase. It isn’t a competition you take on with someone else, but with yourself. If you’re starting out, take trial classes in a few gyms to find out where you’re most comfortable (sometimes it’s just the gym). Ask about the women-only hours, find out if there is anything else—such as Zumba, cross-fit, or Thai Kick-Boxing—that you can switch to, should you get bored.
The Hype Around the Perfect Female Body.
The gram generation has perfected the ideal body to unreasonable levels. Add to that body-shaming of celebrities who’ve put on weight or influencers who are applauded for their perfection. This has given rise to unrealistic demands from one’s own body type, wanting perfect hourglass figure making women lose confidence in themselves and somewhat distorting their self-esteem altogether.
Fact: You may not realise how you may be trying to fit your pear-shape body into the hourglass standard, for example. Truth be told, there is no real standard for what an ideal body-type should be! You can lose weight, have a proportionate body and look stunning, without looking like the celebrity you admire.
Read about how Sharu Singh began her fitness journey, HERE.