Poll: One Exercise You'd Never Do in Public?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Do you have any exercises you really don't like to do when other people might see you?

I do.

In fact, at one time or another in my weight loss project, I've had a lot of them. When I was at my highest weight, it was swimming, or anything else that involved not wearing a shirt. Don't ask me why--it's not as though you couldn't tell how big I was when I was wearing a shirt.

When I took up stationary biking, I was always very careful, at first, to avoid the recumbent models and stick to the uprights. After catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror on a recumbent bike, I thought my body had the same basic shape as a Hershey's Kiss.

Even after I got down to my lowest weight, I hated to use an elliptical machine without wearing sweat pants. Whenever I built up to a good speed while wearing shorts, the loose skin on my legs started flapping so loud you could hear it on the other side of the gym.

I guess you could say that I had a pretty big problem with negative body-image, to put it mildly.

But things have gotten quite a bit better for me in this department, thankfully. These days, I rarely worry about how other people might see me enough to let that restrict my activity (otherwise, you'd never catch me riding my bike in compression shorts).

And it's not just because I've lost a lot of weight. It's because I made myself do the things that made me feel uncomfortably self-conscious, until it was no longer a problem. I think that's much more powerful than simply trying to talk yourself into accepting your body.

There's still one more challenge left on my list of activities I avoid, though. It's hula-hooping. For whatever reason, I just cannot get myself comfortable with the thought of hula-hooping in public. Even just doing it with my granddaughter when we're playing makes me uncomfortable.

So, I guess that's my next project. I'm going to learn how to hula hoop, and do it in public.

How about you? Do you have any activities you'd like to be able to do that make you uncomfortable to the point you avoid them?

Are you willing to try the "feel the shame and do it any way" approach, to see if that works for you?

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EVILCECIL 11/16/2017
Probably yoga Report
I took up swimming at our local "Y", because of not being able to do a lot of anything else, because of my health. I decided that I would swallow my pride and just get into the pool every other day and I did. I even kept going after 2 grade school boys whispered and snickered, and I knew it was about me because I heard the one say to the other, "She's fat!!!". I quit mainly though because it was so painful on my hands, to get in and out of my wet swimsuit. I have a recumbent bike at home which I need to get back on. For a solid week now, I've been working in the flowers and that's hard work to me, so I count those exercise minutes!! An awesome article! I can see myself in it, and you say just what my husband says, and that's to make yourself do it and it gets easier and easier!! It does work!! Report
I go to an outside Bootcamp, I've lost all pride and attempt it all. I'm an H cup. I have expensive but excellent sports bras, I'm not going to let my bust stop me. Report
I'm a 46DDD. I do not jump or run in public. Ever. Report
Prancersizing. Never gonna happen. ;) Report
I did running today for the first time in a long time doing interval training. I was mortified. My pants kept slipping down. My shirt was riding up. I was on sidewalk by a busy road and it was embarrassing. So i would say running in public in ill fitting clothes. Or in general. I look like an idiot when I run! Report
For a long time I've been avoiding taking any classes where people might see me in the tight clothing required. Learning self acceptance helped me taking the treshold first to a dance class, later to tai chi, only to notice that I might be the oldest/biggest one in the classroom, but nobody seemed to care. I never liked swimming in a pool, but I'd like to go to the beach again, but I'm not up to being seen in a swimming suit (let alone a bikini). Report
Many years ago, I went to yoga class after scarfing down a huge bag of doritos. let's just say the twists didn't produce the desired results I wanted and I went to a corner by myself. : ) Report
I love this!

I only recent realised that one of the reasons I avoided social contact at my gym was because I felt like I didn't belong, even though most people I know think I'm the fittest person they know and I've been a member of the same gym for 15 years!

The hang-up comes from my childhood which I was forced to spend completely sedentary, due to a mother who had some mental health issues which made her think any form of physical exercise for me would result in danger and harm.

It wasn't until I got to my 20's that I started to exercise and took about 10 years before I even enjoyed it. But I was health conscious and realised that movement was one of the basic laws of being human; without it, we get sick!

Fast forward all these years and I'm only just now accepting my athletic side. As I said, most people consider me a fitness freak and I am now well aware of this in some of the work I do...

So I'm finally happy working out in front of other people, gym instructors and personal trainers included; and I've even had them tell me how good my form is!

But yep - totally get this article...it's a hard long road for most of us given many people don't grow up as athletes! Report
FITGIRL15, if I walked by and saw someone doing Zumba, I'd ask to join in (assuming I'm out walking for exercise and was properly attired). It's so much fun! Report
Hula hooping is mine, too. I don't mind doing it in a group class, but get me alone and I have to do it in private. It's mostly because of the looks and stares from guys. I just want to work out, not be stared at and have rude comments directed my way. Report
I live in a small condo, so the only place I can go to practice my Zumba is in the gym (after hours) or in the park (the ball diamond or the basketball courts work nicely!)

I often get people driving by honking and waving at me! I think they are jealous and want to join in!

Don't get me wrong, I know it must look absolutely ridiculous... but for me, it's my workout, and I shouldn't have to justify that to anyone!!! Report
I have to second THELADYCASH. I just cannot get into a bathing suit right now in front of people, which is a shame because I loved to swim growing up. Report
Any exercise except walking. I get most of my exercise by doing workout DVDs at home, and even those I'm not real comfortable doing in front of my husband. Maybe one day I'll push myself out of my comfort zone and go to a gym. Report
The thigh machine at the gym. No way, not when people are there. :D

No swimming, as I am not showing all this fat and cellulite to anyone. I also hate to do jumping jacks, ect but that's more b/c I don't have much bounce rather than being self conscious in public. Report
Running outside. I don't mind it in a gym because everyone is there to exercise but I feel a little more vulnerable in the street! Report
Any exercises that involves jumping (jumping jacks, skipping rope, etc.). I'm fairly large-breasted, and the *whoomp* I feel on my chest reminds me of that fact. Plus it's slightly painful.

I also get self-conscious about running. I've had a bra rip on me while running before, and it's haunted me ever since. Report
Pushups...I'm too embarrassed of the number I'm able to do and the form that I am able to do those few in... Report
I hate to run in public. I think it's just the thought of other people looking at me while all my weight jiggles up and down. I'm afraid people will judge me. Even swimming. I got made fun of when I was younger, because my legs would flop around in the water. And.. I've gained weight since then. So, that's my fear. I try to stay indoors and exercise. I will hula hoop and dance but with the curtains shut. I need to just do it. I need to exercise with the sun out, but I hate other people's opinions. And I have learned that not everyone is nice in this world. There are some mean people out there. So, I guess those are my fears. Report
There's nothing I won't do in public. I'm even running now. I don't give a toss what other people think and I can't really see or hear them when I'm in the zone anyway. Report
He had a really interesting point - do things that make you uncomfortable until it's no longer a problem. I basically had to do this with shorts and skirts because I strongly dislike my legs. I have to say, shorts really are so much cooler in the summer than jeans. :) Seems obvious but I really had convinced myself there wasn't much difference! Report
Running! I try to get the treadmill in the way back of the gym because I don't want anyone seeing me beet red and out of breath! I also avoid anything were I am in a swimsuit. Report
Running and I so want to run but everything jiggles etc... and jumping jacks, lord I dont think I even remember how to do them. Report
I'm still at the "there are a lot of exercises I won't do in public" stage ... that's why I do Walk Away The Pounds dvd's at home in my living room! Report
This cracked me up. I hate jumping jacks because I am very busty, and once you've had a kid, all bets are off on bladder control. I also refuse to do lunges while walking/jogging at the park. I know it's silly to be concerned with how I look to other people, but it just looks ridiculous to me to see someone walking or running, and then they stop to take these huge weird-looking steps while holding their hips. Plus I don't seem to have the best balance with lunges. Report
Your flapping skin sentence gave me belly laughs. And how do I ever need those laughs! I love all your blogs and whatever you write. I am very surprised to find that you had a weight problem before. What advice you give is always right on! You have lifted my spirits often. I can't thank you enough! They have weighted hula hoops. They are much easier to get going though I have not tried them. My favorite exercise is anything in the water. I do zumba, kick boxing, water aerobics--all in pool classes. I stay after class and just do my own thing. I was totally mesmerized this morning doing the zumba dance moves. Weighing 250 I would not want people seeing me doing those moves especially in a bathing suit. But under the water who cares! Thanks for all your very open and honest postings! chris Report
Burpees. I look ridiculous and they kind of suck! ;-) Report
Personally, I wear clothes that are comfortable, for me its more of the inappropriate positions especially in yoga. E.G. Happy Baby, Plow Pose, Downward Dog and so many more. Yoga practioners would understand. I've gotten used to family and their friends watching while I jump around and twist myself into position, but some poses (as adults) you don't want to see someone doing outside of the bedroom Report
jumping jacks i'm very big up top and have been since i was 18 so they are not going anywhere Report
I don't like doing anything where I laying down on my back to do--crunches, chest presses on a bench...It feels like a vulnerable position.

I did not mind hula hooping in public until one guy made a comment a long the lines of , "Oh yeah, that's nice. Do some more."...

Um, no thanks. I'll do the hull hoop in my living room now. Report
I would have to say pull-ups and lunges. I would be embarrassed because I can't do either of them worth a darn. (I've been doing lunges in the pool when I rest from lap swimming though -- a bit more manageable for me.) Report
Anything that requires me to have rhythm.... so Zumba is definitely out! Report
Burpees and body builders, or anything that requires a lot of jumping around. I'm not very light on my feet. When I first started working out I didn't want to do ANYTHING outside. Now I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of people seeing me exercising. But I am still a little self-conscious. Report
Most moving in front of people. If I'm doing a brisk walk I feel like EVERYTHING is jiggling. I become very self conscious especially after regaining so much weight Report
Anything that requires a swim suit Report
I pretty much do any exercise in public. I did a bootcamp workout in the park & people would drive by and honk. I say, "get out of your vehicle and try it for yourself." Doesn't bother me. Report
I won't try stand-up paddle board, even though it looks like fun. I worry that I'll fall over into the lake or river and not be able to get up again. I guess I'm even more worried that people on the shore will be laughing, and some good Samaritan will strain his/her muscles trying to hoist me up again! Report
I don't like to do anything exercize oriented in front of people, but especially ab work and warming up and cooling down. Or weight machines. I'm fine swimming because I figure they can't really see me. Report
I'd say bridges. Anything involving jumping too because I have a... er, full bust Report
I do most of my workouts in my basement alone but there is very little I do down there that I won't do in a gym. I tend to wear baggy clothes when I work out but that is more for comfort than for hiding my body. Report
Running and jumping jacks, my belly flops, my bust flops and my belly makes noise when it flops. I have a ruptured disk in my neck so running is not such a good idea anyway. Report
Bridges and the "fire hydrant" exercise. Report
I'd probably say swimming . . . not the activity but the swimsuit (too much loose skin to expose) and the other reason is my uncontrollable curly hair (afro-like frizz upon drying).

When I started flailing around in Zumba class, I quickly lost my embarrassment, especially when I realized everyone else was just as unco-ordinated as I was. I realized that people weren't looking at me. They're trying to follow the instructor and concentrating on their own two left feet. I swear, sometimes I don't know what the heck she is shaking to move the way she does. I've discovered some new songs for my iPod, and I'm learning (slowly) cumbia and salsa. Plus, it's fun! Report
because of all the loose skin on my thighs I never am bare legged any where not even at home....

Coach Dean I like reading your blogs and articles, always so right one the mark
Happy Father's Day Report
Nah. Once I start an exercise routine I pretty much forget about anybody else around. In fact, most of the time once I go into the gym I pretty much forget about everybody else. I do wear a really good sports bra, though. I'm top heavy too. Report
Burpees are an abomination! Report
I dearly love to swim but for many years I've totally avoided getting in the water other than to wade around because I have big ears and 1 of the 2 sticks out so badly. When I was a little child, I wasn't ashamed of it but as I became older other kids made fun of my ears and of course when my hair gets wet they are quite obvious especially the one that sticks out. Children can be SO cruel. They have no idea how their criticism is going to affect another child for the rest of their lives. Report
I'm at that point where everything I do makes me uncomfortable to do it in public, but I do it any ways and I think sometimes I see people cheering me on and that is making me feel better! Report
I dreaded the idea of being in public in a swim suit. Then, I got over it and finally learned to swim. Well, it wasn't that easy. At first I wore a rash gaurd, now I wear an old lady suit. I know some think it is silly, but I feel comfortable in it. Report
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