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Exercise: Are We Doomed to Fail?

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To some people it is really easy for them to exercise, maintain a great body and stay fit. For the rest of us, every exercise session seems like an epic battle between good and evil. Some researchers from Manchester in the UK may have found a link between our personality types and how it can predict whether we are the exercising type or the armchair type.

Here’s what they have discovered:

1. If you are energetic and outgoing = GREAT!
These are the YES! type personalities. You are the life of the party and don’t mind being in the center of attention. Going by the research, it is more likely that you will excercise regularly and stay fit. My guess is that in order to STAY the life of the party, you probably would want to look good as well hence the increased exercise frequency.

2. If you are the “AGREEABLE” type = TOO BAD!
According to what personality reaserchers call the Big Five model, you would be considered to have an AGREEABLE personality if you:

  • Are interested in people.
  • Have a soft heart.
  • Like to make people feel at ease.
  • Often sympathize with others.
  • Take time out for others.

Our friends from the Manchester Metropolitan University would then say that there is a likelihood that you would exercise less if you were in this category. They attribute this to the fact that individuals who have this dominant personality type is probably less “selfish” and hence would not bother much about exercise. They would rather sweat it out for the benefit of others. However, all is not lost (especially if you fall in the latter category).

Here are their recommendations to those of us who are desperately trying to exercise more.

1. Choose exercise activites that you naturally enjoy and is not a chore to do.
This would imply that if your exercise of choice gets boring or dull, CHANGE IT! If you find yourself all dried out trying to go for your daily run, be bold and change to something else. You can always return to it later. Alternatively, we could have a variety of exrcises planned out during the course of a week say, Tuesday is Futsal day, Thursday go for a light jog etc.

2. Focus on WHY you should be exercising rather than WHAT you should be doing.
Understanding why we exercise (for our well-being, health, good-looks etc.) will act as a great motivator and take us further.You are more likely to maintain a good routine if you are not coerced into exercising and doing something because you want to impress someone (although this could work in some instances). One point to note before we take in this research hook, line and sinker: It was conducted among gym-goers in a British university.

The researchers do agree that their research may be limited in it’s application to everyone.That being said, in order to exercise regulary and stay fit, it would have a lot to do with how we view ourselves and our bodies. I guess some amount of ‘selfishness’ is not all too bad as we care for our bodies more.

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