Finding the style of exercise that works for you and your lifestyle
Of all the people who start exercising, only about 30% are able to maintain it. And contrary to what a lot of tough love fitness experts will tell you, this is not because you are lazy, lack dedication, or are unmotivated. It’s because your workout isn’t right for you.
To stick to a workout routine, it must be enjoyable. We all want the benefits of exercise, such as increasing muscle tone, decreasing body fat and improving energy levels, but the process must be enjoyable too. If you don’t enjoy your workout, you won’t do it consistently, and when it comes to exercise success, consistency is the key.
The next time you fall off the exercise wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, remember that your workout failed you rather than the other way around. Use this guide to help you choose the best workout for you.
1. Your Personality
There are lots of different personality types, but most can be divided into two camps: introversion and extroversion. Introverts tend to enjoy solitary activities and find group activities and crowds of people physically and emotionally draining. In contrast, extroverts find group activities energising.
If you consider yourself an introvert, solo activities like hiking in the countryside, running, swimming, exercising at home, and strength training alone will be much more appealing than extrovert-friendly activities like group exercise classes and team sports.
Don’t try to ram a square peg into a round hole – choose the workout that best matches your personality.
2. Your Schedule
While everyone should be able to find time to exercise, some people have more time than others. Family, work, and social commitments may mean that long workouts are just not practical and, when time is short, your workout is usually the first casualty.
Going to a gym for a 45-minute workout can take as much as two hours out of your day by the time you factor in travel time, changing, exercising, showering, changing again, and getting home. That’s a big commitment.
If you know that lack of time is a barrier for you, don’t even consider trying to shoehorn lengthy workouts into an already busy schedule. Instead, consider workouts that you can do at home, fit into your lunch break, or can do at weekends. Remember that even 20 minutes of jogging or bodyweight training beats doing nothing.
3. The Environment
Do you prefer to exercise indoors or outdoors? Does the thought of running for 30 minutes on a treadmill fill you with dread? Are crowded exercise studios a real turn-off? Or does the idea of exercising outside with Mother Nature and all her critters and creatures make you break out in a nervous sweat?
Chose the exercise environment that makes you feel the happiest and most comfortable so that you actually look forward to your workout rather than dread it.
4. Your Budget
Some workouts are expensive, and if you are on a tight budget, you probably have other things you need to spend your money on. If money is an issue for you, it makes no sense to sign up for something that you may not be able to maintain – such as an boutique gym membership, personal training, or costly Pilates classes.
Lack of money does not have to mean you can’t exercise though – going for a walk or a jog or doing bodyweight exercises costs next-to-nothing. Make sure your workout matches your budget so that, even if you are short of money, you can still continue exercising.
5. The X Factor
Do some workouts appeal to you more than others? Are there workouts that you see and think “wow – I really want to try that!” Those workouts have the X factor. While undefinable, the X factor means that, on some level, you feel drawn to a workout even though it might be something you have never tried before. It may not even match any of the criteria discussed above.
Want to try aerial yoga? Powerlifting? Adventure racing? Kayaking? Roller disco? Do it! You never know, your perfect workout could be right there waiting for you.
Fitness experts will forever debate what type of workout is the best, but the truth is, the best workout is the one you enjoy. Enjoyment means you will stick with it - not just for a few weeks or months, but long term. Don’t worry about what’s trending, or what workout burns the most calories. Instead, spend some time thinking about the types of exercise you actually look forward to and build your exercise schedule around that!
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