A primary goal in Lark DPP is to get in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity each week. As you may have discovered, this is not always easy, but the recent Lark mission has been addressing ways to get closer to this goal. The Lark DPP check-in mentioned the benefits of matching your workout to your personality, and here is some guidance.
Solo or Group?
Do you thrive on others’ company, or do you crave alone time? Social workouts can include walking in groups, playing sports, and going with a buddy to the gym. Group fitness classes can also build camaraderie, although there may not be much opportunity for chit-chat during the class. Working out with others can increase accountability and make you more likely to get to the workout.
Still, being alone can have advantages, such as letting you clear your head and listening to music. Walking, cycling, the elliptical trainer, and using the rowing machine can be good options. Swimming and lifting weights are also good solo options.
But caution: your exercise personality may be a contrast to your rest-of-the-day persona. Some people who are extroverts, who spend most of the day with coworkers, clients, family members, and/or friends, and who love their people-oriented lifestyle, may need their exercise time to be quiet. On the other hand, some people who may work from home, have a small family or live alone, and do not socialize much may prefer camaraderie while working out.
Indoors or Out?
Indoors venues give more comfort, such as climate control and the possibility of watching television, while outdoor venues can be more relaxing for some. Workouts at home, in the gym, or in the studio, can be physically similar to outdoor options such as walking or cycling outdoors, or boot camps, pilates, or yoga in the park, for example. Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and skiing are outdoors activities that may take you to more natural scenery than mid-city streets.
Before being too quick to answer whether you want an indoors or outdoors workout, consider that you do not have to be an environmentalist or avid outdoorsman to want to work out outdoors. A 20 to 60-minute workout in the fresh air a few times a week can energize you for a full work week inside.
Self-Directed or “Coached?”
Are you a control freak who wants to control every aspect of your workout? If so, cardio machines, walking by yourself, and doing weights on your own offer the chance to choose everything from how long you work out and at what intensity, to which muscles you work, which equipment you use, and which exercises you do.
Benefits of having someone to tell you what to do include not having to think about it, learning new exercises that you might not have thought about, and being surprised more often. Group fitness classes, sports leagues, and personal and group training sessions have someone else leading. Do not worry if you do not want to interact – exercise videos let someone else guide you while you remain alone at home.
Business or Fun?
Are traditional exercises the only things that “count” as workouts in your book? If so, walking outdoors or on a treadmill, cycling, and swimming, along with using dumbbells and weight machines, may be right for you. If, however, you want to party during your workout, zumba, hip-hop classes, and circus classes may be more for you.
Challenging or Relaxing?
Do you prefer to push yourself to the limit with new speeds, weights, and skills, and possibly a few nerves before the workout and some soreness afterwards? Or do you prefer to chill out during your workout, knowing exactly how long it will take and how it will feel? If the latter, walking can be a great choice, since most people have been walking daily for decades.
Choosing the right workout for your personality can make it more effective and easier to continue in the longer term, but be careful not to label yourself. Some workouts may be better for you at some times, while your mood may shift on other days and make other workouts more attractive or appropriate. Use your gut as a guide and Lark as your support!