Find Your Perfect Workout

From Fitness Magazine

How much does your personality impact your workout? A lot, according to researchers in the emerging field of exercise psychology. “The more a routine suits your mind-set, the more you’re likely to stick with it—and see results,” says Heather A. Hausenblas, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. She gave 500 students a 240-question personality test measuring their characteristics, habits and exercise preferences, then classified each into dominant personality types. See which one you most identify with—then find the plan researchers say you’re most likely to love.

Personality type: Extroverted

The profile: You’re highly sociable and enjoy large groups, excitement and stimulation.

Workout plan: Classes seem a natural fit, but they may actually hold you back. “Extroverts might not like the structure of an aerobics class, where they have no input,” says Marc Lochbaum, Ph.D., professor of exercise and sport psychology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Instead, try doing a group activity that allows you to take a little more control, like organizing a weekly running session or an evening skate, cycling with friends or signing on as captain of a softball team.

Personality type: Open-minded

The profile: You tend to worry a bit more than your pals and have trouble handling stress.

Workout plan: “This type tends to have body-image problems,” says Lochbaum. A safer bet might be to avoid the crowds (and mirrors!) at the gym and stick to working out at home. Go for a power walk, pop in an exercise DVD or invest in a treadmill or other piece of home fitness equipment. Or find a close friend who you enjoy spending time with, and invite her to a weekly walk date. You're more likely to stick with it when you have a buddy, and exercising with just one other person doesn't tend to feel as intimidating as working out in a crowd.

Personality type: Conscientious

The profile: You crave order and structure in both your life and your workout. You like to plan ahead and check off tasks after you’ve completed them. You’re strong-willed, purposeful and determined.

Workout plan: “Conscientious people like organized activities,” says Hausenblas. If you belong to a gym, find a group exercise that’s a mainstay on the schedule, whether it’s body sculpting, kickboxing or Pilates. Or sign up with a trainer for a regular weekly session. Tackle a team sport, such as volleyball or soccer—perfect for a play-by-the-rules gal.

Personality type: Agreeable

The profile: You’re sympathetic and eager to help people and believe they’ll be equally helpful in return.

Workout plan: Lucky you! Researchers aren’t sure why, but the more agreeable you are, the more likely you are to exercise regularly, says Hausenblas. Almost any activity will do, but ones that involve giving to others—such as a charity bike ride or 5K race—will offer the greatest satisfaction and long-term commitment. You also do well exercising in a group—particularly when you can offer words of encouragement to others exercising alongside you.

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