Find Your Exercise Preferences

I thought I'd seen the Myers Briggs test used for just about everything, until last week. Suzanne Brue, author of The 8 Colors of Fitness (2008), has found yet another application for it: fitness compliance. Really, this shouldn't be surprising. The majority of Americans have a difficult time sticking with fitness routines, resulting in thousands of people trying to figure out not only why, but what, to do about that problem.

Brue maintains if you can find activities that deeply relate to who you are, you should be able to find the time to exercise. Heck, you might even enjoy it, find it motivating, or be inspired by it.

Sounds fantastic, so I decided I would see what kinds of recommendations she would suggest for me. My personality type is ISP, or Introverted, Sensing, Perceiving. This combination makes me a green exerciser. Greens, she says, like to workout outside. They prefer hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and diving. They also prefer functional workouts: this means they prefer to walk a mile to the store as opposed to hopping on the treadmill and walking for a mile, (where there is no real end goal, besides finishing).

All of the data on green exercisers is true for me. I aspire to exercise outdoors so that it doesn't feel like a chore. On the weekends my family and I regularly play soccer, take walks at the state parks, or simply walk around the neighborhood. I believe it is the best way to get the entire family moving together.

But this analysis only reveals a piece of what inspires me in the fitness world. I love Pilates, enough to have spent nearly three years studying it in order to become certified. I give myself a workout on my Pilates equipment every day, even if it is just for 20 minutes. I also enjoy yoga: I find the flow energizing, and it is a great compliment to my Pilates routine. And though I do like to get oustide, I have an elliptical machine that gets regular use: I don't know what I would do without it.

The idea of using personality types to encourage people to think about what physical activities are best suited to them is a great idea. Sadly, when the word exercise is uttered, most people immediately think about trekking to the gym and slogging away on the treadmill. This image is just not compelling.

When you think about fitting exercise into your very packed schedule, allow yourself to think beyond the gym. Walking with friends, gardening, rowing, bowling with the kids, playing basketball with a local league are all great ways to get your body moving that won't feel burdensome. It may take some trial and error, but it is worth trying out several different activities until you find a good mix of things that you enjoy to do. Do you need a personality test to help you figure that out? Probably not, but if you'd like some inspiration or ideas, Brue's book may be worth checking out.

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