When I was an outdoor educator, I taught forest class. Many of the students I taught were entering a forest for the first time in their lives, and some were afraid of the woods. Luckily I taught forest class near the end of the week. By then the students already knew that safety was my top priority.
Still, every so often, I could tell when students didn’t feel safe in the forest. Students who were engaged during farm class, aquatics class, and orienteering class became distracted upon entering the woods. No mater what we did or observed in the forest, they seemed disinterested. The majority of the class would excitingly flip over a decomposing log in order to observe the decomposers (mushrooms, worms, slugs, roly-polies, etc.) in action. They would peer through their magnifying glasses to get a closer look at the animals and fungi and take notes in their journals. Those that didn’t feel safe would barely participate, and they learned very little from the lesson.
After noticing this pattern, I started to stand right next to my frightened students. It helped — they were more confident, they learned more, and they had more fun.
Whether you’re in the forest or the gym, it’s difficult to enjoy or learn anything if you don’t feel safe. If you don’t feel safe in the gym, I encourage you to find a fitness professional to walk with you along your fitness journey — someone to provide moral support and ensure you’re completing the exercises safely. With their help, you can achieve your goals.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.