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The worrying reason women are turning away from exercise.

Image: iStock.

There are many reasons we can think of for not exercising. Feeling exhausted. Not enough time. Injuries, even. But according to a recent report, the fear of being judged when exercising is enough to put millions of women off getting active altogether.

The research, commissioned by the Commons’ Health Select Committee in the UK, revealed that the fear of being ridiculed for being sweaty or out of breath is the main reason women don’t exercise.

And shockingly, girls as young as 10 are now refusing to participate in PE classes because of body image fears.

According to the report, some women have taken to running in secret on treadmills because they are too ashamed to do it in public.

According to the report, women are now keeping fit by exercising in their sheds. Image via iStock

The fact that women are choosing not to exercise because they feel self-conscious is deeply saddening. How did we get to this point?

According one woman who was interviewed for the report, Julie Creffield, feeling self-conscious while exercising and the lack of clothing options available for larger women, has affected her workout regime hugely.

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"When I looked online for information, there was lots about weight loss and running but nothing about running just as an overweight person, the psychological aspects of that and how tough it is when you are constantly shouted at, laughed at and clothes in fitness stores don’t fit you... It feels like the whole sport is not geared up for you."

Famous women who love their bodies (post continues after gallery).

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And it's not isolated to the UK, one of the main reasons Australian women aren't exercising is because of body image fears, and 54 per cent of women in Australia don’t meet the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

We're sure that we don't have to tell you that not getting enough exercise is detrimental to your health. It's common knowledge that physical inactivity has become the greatest health risk factor for women over 30 – posing more of a threat than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.

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Research released in May 2014 by the University of Queensland revealed that women who don’t get the recommended amount of exercise are at the greatest risk of heart disease, Australia’s biggest killer.

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