Do you continue to skip on your well-intended exercise routine, even though you really do want to take better care of your body? Well, you might find the answer as to why and how to fix it in today’s guest post by Sinead Miller!
Described by scientist JD Higley as ‘the North and South of temperament’, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert is one of the most important aspects of your personality. Where you fall on the introversion – extroversion scale will govern the friends you have, the career you choose, whether you blush when you’re embarrassed and, yes, how you exercise.
People often believe that introversion is shyness, quietness and a lack of confidence, whereas extraversion is chattiness and confidence. However, that’s a misconception.
While those traits may be displayed (or may not), the real difference between introverts and extroverts is where they get their energy from.
Introverts typically garner their energy from within, from quiet time spent alone or with one or two close friends. Sustained loud noises will drain them. Interacting with lots of different people in a busy environment (such as a party) may be enjoyable, but they will almost certainly need some ‘down time’ afterwards to recover their energy.
Conversely, extroverts find energy through others. A buzzing workplace with a constant stream of colleagues and conversations will make them feel on top of the world. After a party, they’ll feel energized as opposed to drained. Bearing this in mind then, it seems obvious that introverts and extroverts will prefer different types of exercise.
It’s estimated that somewhere between a third to a half of the population are introverts, and the other two-thirds to a half are extroverts. However, it’s important to realize that the two are on a scale, and that you may be mid-way between the two – an ambivert. You can also move along the scale depending on your mood and the sort of day you’ve had. So simply decide how you’re feeling and then refer to the guide below for fitness inspiration!
Obviously, playing team sports lends itself to extroverts, who will bounce off their fellow team members’ energy and enjoy the banter during a game. As an extrovert, you’d probably be happiest playing as part of a large squad or being a ‘pool’ player for a large league, as that will mean you’ll meet lots of different people.
You’d be mistaken if you think that introverts should always exercise alone. But that’s not necessarily the case. Introverts enjoy other people’s company – what they don’t enjoy is small talk and superficial, surface relationships. If you’re an introvert, chances are you’ll enjoy a team sport that allows you to have a regular, small-ish team that you can get close with.
A lot of extroverts dislike the gym, as unless they go with a friend, it’s essentially time spent without human interaction, which they find tiring. If you’re an extrovert, choose a busy, loud, open plan gym and try to go with a buddy to make it more enjoyable. Look for a gym that schedules lots of different group classes – you may well find it easier and more pleasant to do a class than go it alone.
Introverts should look for a gym that is relatively quiet. If the minute you step into the gym your senses are assaulted by crowds of people, pounding music and the sound of an instructor wearing a mic doing a spin class, chances are you’ll want to turn around and leave straight away. Gyms that have several different rooms rather than being completely open plan will be a better choice. Don’t forget to take your MP3 player with you so that you can drown out the noise with either your own choice of music or an audio book.
If you’re an extrovert, you should consider joining a running club if you want to stick with the running habit. While extroverts do need some alone time, too much of it will leave them feeling drained, bored and listless. Joining a running club and introducing a social aspect will keep energy levels high.
Introverts will most likely enjoy running alone, and in fact many find it meditative and soothing. For many introverts, joining a running club would defeat the purpose! Running outdoors in a quiet place, particularly if close to nature, will suit an introvert, giving them the time alone with their thoughts that they need.
Extroverts may find the quiet contemplation required by yoga dull. Choose a group class if you want to give it a try. An extreme extrovert will probably go nuts if they try to practice at home alone.
Introverts will likely be drawn to yoga for the very reasons extroverts may find it dull. Inward reflection is encouraged, there is little need for social interaction and the atmosphere is likely to be quiet and peaceful – all of which will help introverts feel centered, relaxed and energized. If you work in a busy office or a job that requires a lot of interaction with others, spending 15 minutes practicing yoga in the peace and quiet of your own home when you get back from work may be a perfect way for you to recharge your batteries.
The key to enjoying exercise is not only to listen to what your body is telling you, but to listen to what your mind is telling you. If you’re an introvert who feels frazzled after a long day of meetings and your only exercise option is a busy, noisy gym – of course you’ll want to skip it. Likewise, if you’re an extrovert and your energy levels are low after a solitary day, that yoga video just isn’t going to do it for you.
By considering your personality type and introversion/extroversion preference, it will be easier to identify the exercise you need, and hence easier to stick to a regular routine. Happy exercising!
About the Author
Sinead Miller lives in the UK and writes articles about health and fitness as well as managing UK health insurance website, Web Doctor.
Are you an extrovert, introvert or ambivert? I think based on Sinead’s article, I’m an ambivert. In the past, I was mainly an introvert, but it appears as if things have changed with me… Maybe this is one of the reasons why I’m having trouble following through on my intentions to get back into a regular exercise routine!