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Your Personal Rx for Exercise Success

Like your signature, the exercise routine you prefer is individual. If you’re outgoing, for example, working out in a group situation could be what keeps you coming back for more. A more reserved person, however, might do better exercising solo.

“Fine-tuning your workout based on your personal tendencies can help you adhere to a program, and consistency is the foundation for getting fit,” says Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise and chief exercise physiologist at myexerciseplan.com. 

By personalizing your plan and embracing your natural “exercise type,” you’ll maximize your chance for fitness success. But to add balance, you’ll also want to include activities in the mix that go against your default preferences.

Here are several exercise plans targeted to a different personality.

Introverted exerciser

The introverted exerciser’s MO is privacy. You like exercising by yourself and using fitness time to collect your thoughts. Activities you may gravitate to include walking and jogging by yourself or using your gym’s weight machines. Although such self-reliance provides a safe haven, there’s a potential downside.

“If you exercise only on your own, you can find yourself exercising inconsistently because you’re not accountable to anyone but yourself,” says Mr. Cotton.

Success Rx: To help you stay on track, don’t go it totally alone. This can mean aligning yourself with a personal trainer or a friend. If your plan runs into a snag, such as an exercise plateau, your support system can help you reignite your resolve.

Extroverted exerciser

The extrovert gets exercise motivation from others. You need the support and camaraderie of other exercisers, and being accountable to them helps you meet your goals. You like to sign up for fitness classes and work out with others.

But there’s a catch: You may need some occasional downtime, and exercising by yourself is a healthy way to get it.

Success Rx: Enlist others’ support by, for example, building your routine around classes at a gym or creating a fitness walking group in your neighborhood. But, also dig deep for your own fitness motivation by asking yourself questions, such as: What am I getting out of exercising daily? Why is it important to me?

Spiritually inclined

If you feel a reverent connection to the universe you may gravitate toward meditative activities, such as yoga and tai chi.

Success Rx: Try to balance your fitness routine with components that may be missing, such as aerobic exercise or strength training. 

Event-oriented exerciser

You get motivated to exercise when you’ve got a big event on the horizon. A marathon, weddings and reunions are what get you going. Unfortunately, once the event has passed, your motivation may vanish.

Success Rx: Since goals are the foundation of your motivation, never be without one. 

“Taking some time to determine your exercise personality can help you attain and maintain fitness throughout your life — and love doing it,” says Mr. Cotton.