Researchers have speculated that your exercise routine may be easier to stick to if it fits your personality.
According to Live Science:
"Decades of psychological research have boiled down human personality to five different components: conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience."
Here are their suggestions for an exercise routine based on the most dominant part of your personality.
Highly conscientious—then you may have a leg up already. Take advantage of your innate stick-to-itiveness and drive to follow the rules. Solo activities tend to work well since you don't have to coordinate your schedule with others.
- Non-committal—More impulsive people who tend to avoid planning and don't like making promises may improve their chances of success by writing down their exercise plan in detail, including the when and where.
Focusing on activities that give you "a buzz or high," can also help to make you stick to your regimen. Examples include sprinting such as Sprint 8, and contact sports. Breaking down a large goal into smaller, more manageable chunks with deadlines in the near future will also be helpful, especially if your attention span is short.
- Extroverted—So-called "people persons" can feel bereft when having to exercise all by their lonesome, so if you're very outgoing, consider joining a fitness class or taking up a team sport to keep you going.
- Introverted and/or highly agreeable—These personality types may be uncomfortable with highly competitive and aggressive activities. Better alternatives include yoga—either at home by yourself or in a class setting—and golf.
- Worried/Anxious—Those who find it hard to relax can find a great friend in exercise, as exercising is a fantastic tool for releasing anxiety, and providing stress relief and emotional stability. If you fall into this category, I highly recommend including this benefit in your written goals (see below), and use that as a motivating force to get you going.
- Adventurous—Those who are open to new experiences tend to be happiest when their fitness routine takes them outdoors. Running, cycling or walking are all great options. You can also easily incorporate Sprint 8 exercises outdoors by sprinting instead of jogging, for example. Taking different routes can quench your need for variety, keeping each workout fresh.
In related fitness news, several recent studies have found that when athletes completely cease training, they rapidly lose strength and endurance. Being completely inactive, even for a short period of time, de-tones muscles and compromises health.
However, these same studies also found that relatively small amounts of activity allowed the athletes to maintain much of the health and fitness they had previously gained. If they just cut back to one weight-training session and two endurance workouts per week, they lost only half as much aerobic power as those who stopped exercising altogether.
In fact, according to the New York Times:
"Even more relevant to those of us who aren't world-class athletes ... a study just published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that visiting the gym only once a week may be enough for young and older athletes to hold onto past strength gains ...
There are caveats to these encouraging findings, of course. You must have a baseline level of fitness to maintain, for one thing ... If you have no fitness base, resolve now to build one."
In addition, it's well known that exercise results in cardiovascular benefits. But until quite recently, scientists understood very little about how physical activity actually influences your heart.
A new study now offers some of the first molecular-level insights.
The research suggests that exercise turns on a genetic program that leads your heart to grow as heart muscle cells divide. This means that there may be ways to optimize training regimens so that they tap into this natural mechanism more efficiently.
"That finding is key given that there is little prior evidence showing that the increase in heart size with exercise has direct benefits, the researchers say. The new evidence also gives important biological insights into the heart's potential for regeneration of muscle."
If you've made a New Year's resolution to exercise more this year, you're not alone. It's one of the most commonly stated resolutions for the New Year, yet only a small percentage ever follows through on this goal.
The reason people often fail when trying to implement a regular exercise routine is because they work against their instincts, instead of with them. This is where knowing your personality can come in handy. As described above, selecting a fitness routine that meshes with your personality will naturally increase your chances of long-term success.
However, implementing a new fitness routine can feel overwhelming, particularly if you haven't been active in a while. You may be intimidated by the gym equipment or by the idea of exercising in front of others. You may also be over-stressed and not knowing exactly when to fit exercise into an already packed schedule.
All of these feelings, whether they're justified or not, contribute to your resistance to exercise. Instead of focusing on how great you'll feel once exercise becomes a regular part of your life, many people focus on the negatives, like the work and the time it takes to stay active.
To help yourself get into a more positive frame of mind, you can give Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) a try. It can help you remove the negative emotional blocks that are preventing you from successfully implementing your program.
If you have a hard time psyching yourself up for a vigorous workout, one of the best things to do is focus on the real prize: a healthier, more trim you.
One important yet often ignored aspect of making a lifestyle change such as starting to exercise is to write out your goals. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail... Most people who have successful exercise regimens have taken the time to create a clear blueprint for themselves and their future.
I'll summarize the 12 steps to successful goal-setting in a moment.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Research into human personality has condensed various psychological traits down to five main components:
- Openness to experience
While you can't fit the entirety of an individual into a neat little box, each person contains these five traits in various amounts and psychologists look at these basic dimensions when ascertaining personality.
For some guidance on the exercise routine that might fit your personality, review the Live Science list above, then... get started on setting your goals!
Goal Setting 101
When you are working progressively, step-by-step, toward something that is important to you, you generate within yourself a continuous feeling of success and achievement.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your goal must be congruent with your belief system, or else success will likely linger beyond your reach. I think (or at least hope) we can agree that being healthy is a wonderful thing. Therefore, if being healthy is in your belief system, you are congruent with the goal of working out according to plan!
Unfortunately, less than 3 percent of adults have clear written goals with plans on how to achieve them. Here's how you can join that small, exclusive "club."
12 Steps to Clear, Effective Goal Setting
Step 1: Develop desire for health and being fit—Our actions are usually based on fear or desire. If you are trying to implement changes because you fear you'll never achieve the weight or health you desire, you are most likely going to fail. Fear is a powerful force, but not one that spurs you toward greatness.
Desire, on the other hand, is like a burning fire within and has the power to change you to the core.
Step 2: Believe you CAN be successful—In order to fully achieve anything, you must believe it is possible at a cellular level.
To make your goals obtainable, set short-term goals that slowly but surely lead up to your long-term goal.
Step 3: You MUST write it down—Having a goal of exercising optimally or weighing a certain amount is not a goal if it is not in writing—it's just a fantasy.
Once your goal is in writing, it is concrete.
I would encourage you to write out your goal in two ways.
- Use a lot of detail. Be specific on what your life will be like when you have met your goal. Let your imagination run wild. Then, put this in an envelope to read when you need encouragement and motivation.
- Write down one sentence that captures what your goal is. Write this sentence out on several post-it notes and place them in your car, at your office, on your bathroom mirror and one by your bed. Each time you pass one by, read your sentence and spend a minute or two visualizing what that feels like.
Step 4: Make a list of all the ways you will benefit from achieving your goal, and get EMOTIONAL—This is similar to what was recommended above, but with focus on your emotions; how you want to feel. Plugging in your emotional reasons for wanting to optimize your fitness and fat loss is crucial. It is the "why" to the "what."
Emotional benefits may include having more energy, looking better, feeling great, or fitting into a dress. Reviewing this on a regular basis will assist in keeping you motivated.
Always use the word "I" with each goal, and write it in the present tense. Your subconscious mind responds only to commands that are personal, positive and in the present tense. Remember that unless you have emotion attached to your reasons, the likelihood that you will succeed is radically reduced.
Step 5: Analyze your starting point—This will provide a baseline to measure your progress from. If your goal is to lose weight, weigh yourself and write down where you are. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, have your cholesterol or blood pressure measured and write down where you are.
Step 6: Set a deadline—Setting a deadline for a tangible goal (such as reaching a certain weight) "programs" your cells to achieve that goal by a certain time, if not sooner.
However, if your goal is intangible, such as "optimizing health," do not set a deadline. If you set a deadline on an intangible goal, the date you set will be the first date your cells are programmed to actually start demonstrating that quality.
If you do set a deadline and fail to reach it, set another deadline.
Step 7: Make a list of obstacles—After listing all the possible obstacles you can think of, re-list them in order of the difficulty to overcome them.
Step 8: Identify the additional information you will need to achieve your goal—There are multiple resources available on many subjects, so research the area you're pursuing and empower yourself with all of the information you can. Setting a goal and going after it without knowing why you are going after it is a sure-fire way to stop short of your goal.
Step 9: Make a list of all the people whose help and cooperation you will require—This may include family, friends, co-workers, your doctor and whomever else you deem appropriate. But be careful. Select only those you know will support and encourage you to the fullest.
Unfortunately, there are people who seem to want to sabotage others, especially when it comes to trying to lose weight or achieve better health. Educate the people you select on the reasons you are working toward your goal. If you present it well, they may even decide to join you and then you will be really supported and held accountable!
Step 10: Write out your plan—Now it's time to write out, in detail, the entire plan: what you want, when you want it, why you want it, and from where you are starting. List the obstacles to overcome, the information you will need and the people you need to help you. Use steps 1-9 to help with this.
Step 11: Use visualization—It's a powerful tool. If you can see it and feel it, you can get it. Visualize yourself participating in activities that add life and provide energy. Picture how good you will feel when implementing your plan. Imagine your new life.
Take time to do this each day. Right before bed is a powerful time to engage in visualization.
Step 12: Make the decision in advance that you will never, ever, give up—Surround yourself with those who are choosing wisely and who care enough about you to hold you accountable. We all have days, or weeks, where we slip. The important thing is that you realize this, admit it, and get back with the program.
To get you started, feel free to use this Commitment Sheet, created by Darin Steen.
Read your commitment sheet out loud, with a positive tone in your voice, three times, right before bed and upon waking in the morning. Remember, there is power in the spoken word. So stand up tall, with good posture, and say it like you mean it!
Every new day is another opportunity to make a change for the better. And one of the lifestyle changes that can have the most dramatic impact on your health is to start exercising on a regular basis. So, whether or not you made a New Year's resolution to exercise more this year, go ahead—make a plan, taking your personality into account, and get started!
Anyone Can Incorporate this Amazing, Efficient and Effective Exercise Technique
Regardless of what exercise you wind up choosing, please realize that you will need some high intensity training like Sprint 8 in your program. Traditional cardio or walking will simply not provide you with the health benefits you need.
Please watch the video below to get an idea of the type of intensity you need to exert in this type of program; you REALLY need to push yourself hard.
This technique is so effective, can be used with or without gym equipment (indoors or outside), and places such minor demands on your time that if there ever was one type of exercise that could be modified to fit any and all personalities, Sprint 8 would be it.
For more information about Sprint 8, please see this link.
Health Benefits of Exercise that Can Motivate You to Get Started
There are so many health benefits of exercise it's virtually impossible to list them all, and researchers keep finding new benefits too. That said, here are 15 well established health benefits that you can use as motivation as you write up your fitness goals and start your program.
- Improve your brainpower
- Lower your blood pressure
- Fight off a cold
- Manage arthritis
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Cure insomnia
- Fight depression
- Lower your risk of diabetes and reverse pre-diabetes
- Build strong bones
- Lose weight
- Reduce your risk of cancer
- Boost your IQ and think better
- Relieve chronic knee pain
- Increase your energy levels
- Slow down your aging process
Keep in mind too that regularity is KEY when it comes to reaping the benefits of exercise, no matter what type of exercise you do.
Health Benefits Dependent on REGULAR Exercise
"The most sobering of the recent studies, published last month in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at a large group of retired elite male athletes, most now in their 50s. Some had remained physically active, although they were no longer competing. Others had taken fully to sloth, avoiding almost all exercise.
… the sedentary ex-athletes had a much higher risk of metabolic abnormalities, including insulin resistance, than their more active counterparts.
Training hard and often in their youth had not conferred lifelong health benefits on the athletes as they aged, not if they now sat around all day.
Similarly… a study published earlier this year found that when a group of world-class kayakers completely quit training (at the end of a competitive season), they rapidly lost strength and endurance.
… In other words, being almost completely inactive, whether for a short or prolonged period of time, inexorably de-tones muscles and compromises health. The benefits of regular activity don't last long."
So, the take-home message is to get started and keep going, no matter your age. It's a lot easier staying fit than getting fit...
This holds true not just for your muscles and endurance, but for your heart too.
A new study published in the journal Cell has discovered that physical activity influences your heart by turning on "a genetic program" that causes your heart to grow as your heart muscle cells divide.
I've personally exercised regularly for over 40 years. To keep it fresh and interesting, I do what I advised earlier—I keep researching and trying out new techniques. For example, after many years of running, I've now replaced long-distance running with Sprint 8 exercises like sprinting instead. And the benefits have been nothing short of amazing!