The answer to this question could help you stick with exercise.
Could the reason you give up on exercise so easily be because you just haven’t tried the right kind? Maybe the few times you’ve gone running it was so hard you swore you’d never do it again. Perhaps you dread the monotony of the treadmill. Or maybe you have a social personality and feel out of your element exercising alone. Whatever the case, research shows that physical activity, like other parts of your lifestyle, is just another way you express your personality and preferences. When you understand this theory, it makes sense why you love your Zumba class, love lifting weights, hate cardio and dislike hiking alone in the woods.
So you may be wondering what your workout personality is. When you discover the answer to this question, you’ll hopefully find an easier and more enjoyable path to fitness. Many factors play into your exercise personality, but here are a few of the main ones.
Fly solo versus social butterfly – this is kind of like the introvert/extrovert question. Do you like spending time alone with your thoughts while you exercise or enjoy the company of a friend or team? If you’re around people all day at home or at work, you may like a few minutes to yourself while you work out. Or maybe you like to move at your own pace and focus on the task at hand rather than get caught up in a conversation. For those who like to fly solo during their work out, good options include walking, weight lifting, running, swimming, or cycling.
Social butterflies find exercise more enjoyable when they have someone to talk to, keep them accountable, and cheer them on when they feel like quitting. This kind of exercise personality may prefer to walk or run with a buddy, play tennis, team sports, or take a class at the local gym.
Morning versus night person – forcing yourself to get out of bed before the sun to exercise when you’re not a usual morning person is setting yourself up for failure. Yes, you may discover you like the quiet morning hours more than you thought, but it’s not likely. While the morning is an ideal time for many people to work out, it’s not for everyone. If getting out of bed is already a challenge for you, then plan to exercise in the afternoon or evening. You’ll be much more likely to stick with it.
High strung versus laid back – consider your personality. Are you always on the go, looking for the next new adventure, and spontaneous? Then you may prefer an exercise routine that keeps you on the move like running to reach a goal, hiking to see what’s over the next hill, kickboxing, or an impromptu basketball game with friends. This type of exercise personality does well with someone else to keep accountable.
Maybe your personality is more laid back. Your life is slow paced, planned out, and you take time to reflect. Workouts that may appeal more to you include yoga, Pilates, or Tai chi. You’ll be more likely to stick with exercise if it’s a scheduled part of your everyday routine.
Leader versus follower – a forth aspect of your personality that may affect your exercise preferences is your propensity to lead or follow. Someone who’s used to calling the shots and making decisions may find fulfillment in leading others to exercise or doing his or her own thing. A follower likes to be told what to do and how to do it and will be more content to take a class or work out to an exercise video.
Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.