Whether you’d consider yourself a gym rat or a couch potato, the truth is that there are hundreds of different exercise regimens and ways to move your body. If you’re unsure of where to start (or maybe need to shake things up), don’t just jump on the newest exercise fad; try taking a look at your personality.
Knowing what type of person you are can help you in figuring out what type of workout is going to serve you best; and at the end of the day, connecting with yourself and making a commitment to health is really what exercise is all about.
The Go Getter:
You’re always trying new things, socializing is your favorite pastime, and life is never boring. If there’s something exciting going on, you’re there. New opportunity at work? Consider it taken. Days off? Pfft, those are for partying!
Having that go-getter personality means you’re going to need to mix things up in the exercise department to keep yourself from getting bored. The answer? A gym that offers a ton of classes. You can try something trendy like aerial yoga one day, and then turn to a really intense HIIT class the next. If a gym just isn’t for you, try finding an exercise class on Groupon once a week, and do an activity like biking or swimming on the other days. The key to this is changing it up consistently.
You’ll show up to events and gatherings, but there’s no way you’re going to be the life of the party. You’re more likely to be petting the host’s dog, people-watching, and talking with the couple of people you recognize. If you would describe yourself as an introvert, but enjoy the chaos of socializing on the weekends, you’re going to want an exercise program that gives you the same vibe.
Being an introvert, but still thriving on the social energy around you means that group classes can be the perfect option. There’s still a social element involved, but not one that requires 1-on-1 interactions with people you don’t really know. Other great options for your personality type are activities like kickboxing or self-defense. Again, the setting is social, but you’re focused on reaching personal goals and increasing your own individual abilities.
You are the muggle embodiment of Hermione, in that you’re hyper Type-A, always do more than is required, and probably did every extra credit assignment offered as a child – and did it because you genuinely wanted to. The thought of hopping on a treadmill every day for an hour makes a small part of you die inside, because what’s the point? There’s no long-term goal being achieved; you’re not even actually walking anywhere! Your exercise program needs to feed into your Type-A, goal-achieving ways.
As a goal-setting boss, you probably have the drive to constantly beat your last record. Jumping in with both feet probably doesn’t scare you, so go for something big like a marathon or triathlon. If the thought of running multiple miles sounds like the stuff of nightmares, you can also try Crossfit. It’s hyper-intensive and can help you tune out because it requires total concentration on your body. You can still be an overachiever while giving your brain a bit of a break. It’s a win-win.
Time for exercise? Really? You’ve got to be joking. Whether you’re hustling with work, motherhood, or just the general stress of life, taking even 20 minutes a day for exercise seems laughable. You need an exercise program that doesn’t call itself an ‘exercise program’, because you just don’t have the time to commit to a regularly scheduled class or routine. You need something flexible, easy, and minimal.
Try scheduling a time to exercise, starting with just three days a week for 15 minutes each day. Do something easy, like going for a walk (take the family with you so you’re still spending time with them, or listen to voicemails while walking), or find a 10-minute yoga sequence on YouTube – lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to! Also remember that little things can add up to big ones. Look up some breathing and ab exercises you can practice while sitting at your desk, purposely park farther away to get in some extra walking, take the stairs – try finding just one thing a day that equates to exercise, and start adding another thing every week until you’ve got a mini-routine happening.
You’re 100% an introvert, so going to an exercise class? Where you have to interact with someone? Ain’t nobody got time for that. If the workout can’t be done in the comfort of your living room, in pajama pants (or maybe no pants), with no risk of being seen or heard, then it’s just not for you. You need something that can be done alone but also effectively, to make sure you’re still getting the results you want.
YouTube is your new workout buddy. Look up Zumba videos, yoga sequences, bodyweight exercises – you can find just about anything! Try looking up programs that last a certain length of time (example: one-week Zumba workout) so that you can try something new before you get bored. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and need some accountability, you can also try hiring a personal trainer a couple of days a week, and pick activities like a walk or biking for the other days.
The Money Saver:
Paying to exercise? Isn’t that what nature is for? If the thought of spending $30+ a month just to sweat in a large building that’s crammed with other sweaty people makes you want to run in the other direction, don’t worry. Mother Nature has everything you need for a workout program that’s free, and isn’t limited to running on a machine that doesn’t take you anywhere.
Pick a couple days a week to be adventurous in your workouts – try hiking, biking, rock-climbing, or swimming. You can also do things like yard work, raking, digging, and gardening; not only are those great exercises, you’re also getting stuff done around the house – two birds, one stone! If you need the social interaction that gym classes usually provide, try joining a local community sports team. If there isn’t one, then start one! You can meet at a local park or church common area to practice, socialize, and improve a skill, all while having a great workout.
The Stress Case:
Hey, we’ve all had those times in life where we’re just barely trudging on; and usually exercise is the LAST thing on your mind when those seasons come a knockin’. But being stressed out of your mind is the perfect time to exercise! Not only will it help balance your stress and leave you feeling more calm, it can help remove you from the situation so it doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.
If you’re craving some peace and rest, try yoga or Tai Chi. You can join a local class or do it on your own (there are tons of free yoga apps!); the goal is to get your body moving, focus on breathing deeply, and teach yourself how to relax and let go. If the stress you’re under is making you want to punch something – put that pent up energy to good use and try running, weight-lifting, or boxing. Listen to your body: There may be one day that yoga sounds great, and another day that boxing would really help you out. The more in-tune you are with what your body needs, the better you’ll feel!
If you’re still unsure of where to start, ask a friend who has a steady workout routine if you can join them; it may not end up being the routine you stick with, but it’ll help you figure out what you do and don’t like, and will get you moving in the right direction. What’s your favorite workout? What’s your least favorite? Let us know in the comments!