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Match Your Exercise Choice to Your Personality

Before recommending a particular workout to a new client, you may want to consider the individual’s personality type and how it will influence success in different activities.

Exercise and Personality

Before recommending a particular workout to a new client, you may want to consider the individual’s personality type and how it will influence success in different activities.

A study published in Heliyon (2019; 5 [4], e01459) found that personality type and motivation can affect success with continuing specific types of training. For best results, people should follow a program
that best matches their individual characteristics and motivational factors, regardless of which training programs are currently most popular.

“Many individuals who initiate exercise programs may actually select activities that conflict with their interests, styles, personalities and/or reasons for engagement,” said lead study author Allyson G. Box, who is currently completing her master’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “Taking [personal] factors into account may impact the amount of physical activity/exercise that individuals actually complete.”

For example, Box found that CrossFit® participants had high intrinsic motivation and enjoy social connectedness; people who did resistance training were more motivated by a sense of challenge; and long-distance runners preferred solo training over group exercise.

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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