When I first started, I was pretty anxious that people were judging me because I didn't know much of what I was doing. But after I learned a bit and got a bit stronger, I didn't feel anxious anymore. Now, I judge the loud, enormous muscle heads, they don't judge me.
I joined about the same age as you. I was a bean pole. It was intimidating at first when there were fit glamorous ppl everywhere but ppl are all there for their own needs. The weights area would be hard esp on busy weekday nights so I'd ease my way into it with quieter days first. Plus I'd find it hard to exert all my energy and show emotions (grunting etc) because I felt I was being watched.
Not sure if you felt this way or if anyone else does/did on here but you do feel better.
To answer the inital question of the poster, I would recommend it. Just be weary of fees (it's an issue in Australia with one of the major companies).
It definitely couldn't hurt! It's a positive thing I think. But if I were you I'd exercise at home first till I felt like I was comfortable in my abilities and then join the gym. I mean...unless you are already comfortable with your abilities outside the gym, haha. Then join! If it doesn't work out you can cancel your membership, I'm sure.
exercise and healthy eating can decrease your anxiety. as for being in a gym it should build your confidence cos you will probably feel a bit anxious about it but once its over you'll realise that it wasnt too bad and that you handled it
Before i joined a gym i couldnt work out in front of people, but since i was forced to i eventually got used to it. It also helps with similar situations where you may not be able to do certain things in front of others.
Its also a decent stress reliever.
I think it does decrease anxiety in a way. You learn to focus on yourself more and others less. At least in the gym. I have kept it up for a couple years now. At first I would try to block out everyone with headphones and baseball cap pulled low and show up early or late in the day. I remember feeling like I was center of attention and like people where judging my technique and weights and everything.
I'm pretty desensitized to that now. Not to say I am striking up conversations with other members. I do feel like it helps build confidence in a certain way because of the gains I have made in time. I started working out with a friend recently who is a self conscious beginner and it feels good to encourage him since I remember that anxiety clearly.
Not sure about the gym part of it, but exercise in itself is proven to reduce anxiety and depression, as long as you get your heart rate up and do it on a consistent basis. The effects aren't always immediate but it actually should help a little.
From my experience, it is especially helpful if you have generalized anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is a harder barrier to break through from my experience.