A few years ago, a friend invited me to her Zumba class…
She had told me about how much fun she had, how it didn’t even feel like she was exercising and how it was like a big party. She had made a lot of friends and was getting into great shape, so I joined her at a class after work one day.
She was right. She had a lot of fun! There were many people there who she had become friends with. It was like a big party, and she worked up a sweat while smiling and laughing and dancing like she was born to do it. Me, not so much. I couldn’t wait to get back to my solitary running workout on the treadmill at my gym, listening to music through my headphones, all by myself!
Lucky for us, we don’t all have to enjoy the same kind of exercise; there is something for everyone out there, and whether you like to be the life of the party or a lone ranger, you can choose the right workout for you. Here’s how to tell what you may enjoy when you venture out for fitness.
Consider the Setting
Do you enjoy being part of a group, but like to blend in? Consider a group fitness class, where energy is high but you aren’t necessarily front-and-center. If you often find yourself in a leadership role, check out intramural sports, where the team atmosphere provides more opportunities for individuals to stand out. On the other hand, if socializing is the last thing you want to do when you’re exercising, head to the solitude of the cardio theatre at the gym or head out for a solo walk and get into your own zone!
Remember Your Goals
If you were planning to run a 5k in the future, would you prepare by swimming laps? Of course not! A moderate plan of gradually building endurance and stamina for running would best prepare you for the race. But sometimes we choose our workout based more on what is popular with our friends or new at the gym than by our actual goals. Ask your Health Advisor for insight on choosing an exercise program that will best help you reach your unique goals!
Choose Your Intensity
For the competitive spirit, challenging yourself to outperform your friends or add your workout stats to a leaderboard at the gym can be all the motivation you need to push a little harder. For others, a brisk walk around the lake while surrounded by nature is what draws you to your sneakers. It’s helpful to know where you feel your most energized and motivated. Consider a high-intensity interval class for a fast-paced workout a rush of adrenaline, and head towards a dance-focused class like Zumba to get your heart-pumping in a more lighthearted setting.
Think About Work
Yes, thinking about your job can make you happier when you’re exercising! Are you a planner, preferring to arrive at work with a list of to-dos and checking them off as the day progresses? You may like the structure of a class with choreography that you can follow and rely on staying somewhat predictable. Or, are you spontaneous, tackling projects as they pop up during the day? Keep the fitness class schedule and a packed gym bag nearby so you can take advantage of opportunities on the fly.
You’re unique, and exercise is not a one-size-fits-all situation. The best workout for you is the one that you look forward to and do consistently! When you’re having fun and tapping into what brings you energy and joy, you have found your niche. Have fun exploring and finding yourself in fitness!
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– HEATHER FUSELIER, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather