Choosing The Right Workout | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Choosing The Right Workout

Photo by Melissa Webster

Forget size. It never mattered. Still doesn't. What really matters is personality. What's imperative is not mixing multiple fitness personalities. In other words, we don't want to catch an adrenaline-junkie talking your meditation guru into skydiving. We know who you are—even though you might not—and where you should be jogging (or downward dogging). Best not tell the others; they might get jealous.

No matter what your fitness personality, one thing's for certain: Everyone will benefit from 30 to 40 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise six to seven days a week. The physical benefits associated with these surgeon general-recommended rates are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Don't underestimate the power of support; getting your friends and family in on your fitness personality plan is crucial to keeping motivated. And lastly, an exercise journal to record goals and track your progress (and pitfalls!) is a wise way to stay on top of the game.

It Doesn't (Always) Take Two
Serene soul: Let's say you're the introspective sort that prefers solitude to social time and often finds the best solutions to life's problems lie within. What in God's name are you doing on a soccer field with a team of rowdies then? You belong on a trail in the woods, with nature and contemplation as fellow fitness partners.

Social butterfly: Always at the center of what's happening and the first to know everything else before it occurs? The girl or guy of gab has no place inside the Kripalu Zen-meditation den. Best leave savasana to the yogis and take up a more social form of fitness like joining a gym or signing up for spinning class.

Daredevil: You're a live-on-the-edge kind of person who doesn't take "boring" for an answer. You like your food spicy and your cars fast, the thrill of danger and the rush of adventure. So please, for the love of all that's good and risky, stay away from Pilates and get yourself to a cliff-side!

Over-achiever: Never one to sit at home knitting, you're in best form at the head of a team, or leading the crowd to victory. You like a good challenge, and never stop until you're sweating up a storm. Leave those lazy-day walks through the park to your granny, and head up a team for the next 5k race.

Strike A Blissful Fitness Balance
When it comes to fitness, don't misjudge how critical a good match may be. It can mean the difference between attaining your goals and miserably making your way through one more workout. Even worse, you might find yourself giving up entirely and deciding to sit idle on the sofa all afternoon instead. We've all been in a workout rut before, but once you find that happy marriage of personality and perspiration, I swear you'll never go back to doing it the hard way. Just make sure not to let any of those other characters in your head talk you out of your plan.

A caveat: No matter how great a thrill-seeker or competition-junkie you may be, "no pain, no gain," is more antiquated than Jane Fonda's spandex unitards. If it hurts, don't push it. You won't be paragliding tomorrow if you break a leg today.

Whatever Your Size,The Right Gear Matters
Never mind the caché associated with a pair of branded exercise shoes; they won't do you much good if they aren't perfectly matched to your personality and sport of choice. In fact, one of the most common sport-related injuries is associated with ill-fitting, incorrectly matched shoes.

Think about it: The average 150-pound adult will exert 63.5 tons of pressure on just one foot after a mile of walking. Add to that the wrong fit, or the wrong shoe for a given sport, and you'll be begging for an injury. Fitness shoes are not interchangeable. So why would you attempt to run five miles in a pair of high-top sneakers, or play basketball in running shoes?

Purchase your footwear and other gear from a retailer with a knowledgeable staff trained to sell these products, who can properly assess and fit your foot. Anything less might seem convenient at the time, but it's well worth the extra effort to ensure a comfortable and risk-free fitness plan.

Activities for Your Fitness Personality
• Serene Soul: Solo pursuits like long fitness walks, hiking, long-distance running or biking, canoeing/kayaking and swimming are great ways to sooth your inner Zen master. Looking for a class? Try an Eastern-based discipline like yoga, Tai Chi or karate to satisfy your craving for a mind-body connection.

• Social Butterfly: Group activities—and those that allow you to feel in touch with other social beings—are best for a networking person like you. Keep fit with ballroom dance classes, step or aerobics classes with music and an energetic instructor, group walks with friends and regular visits to a bustling gym.

• Daredevil: Whether unaccompanied, or with other risk-takers in tow, your best bet is to stay pumped and ready for adventure. Get out, and into the elements by rock/mountain climbing, white water rafting, skiing, surfing or skateboarding.

• Over-Achiever: You're a natural leader who requires the drive of competition to stay on top. Keep motivated with highly competitive group sports like soccer, football, lacrosse, basketball or beach volleyball. Prefer to perform solo, but still take home the prize? Train for—and participate in—a marathon, triathlon or decathlon in your city.

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