Sunday January 6, 2013
A personality for fitness
By FIONA HO
Whether you are a social butterfly, a shy guy, or an adrenaline junkie, Fit4Life has compiled a list of different exercises to go with your different personality types as you kickstart your new year’s resolution towards attaining better health and fitness.
IT’S a brand new year and you’re all psyched about losing those extra kilos you gained during the holidays. Besides, there is no better time to make resolutions towards attaining better health and fitness.
Never mind that you made the same resolution last year (and the year before), this time around you are serious about getting that sculpted Victoria’s Secret silhouette, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to get there! Naturally, such a quest would entail an arduous exercise regime, which you will follow through, come rain or shine.
But fast forward six months, and there’s a 50% chance that you would have given up your new fitness regime, according to the American Council on Exercise. The lack of planning, motivation and boredom, contribute to why people fall off the fitness wagon.
To give you a little boost on your journey towards achieving better mental and physical wellness, Fit4Life has compiled a list of exercises or sports to go with your different personality types.
As exercise makes up an integral part of the health and fitness equation, it is important to engage in regular physical activity to get your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and above all, to stay in tip-top shape all year long!
The Social Butterfly
Social butterflies enjoy attention, and most of the time, these vivacious folks get what they want. Friendly and easygoing by nature, the social butterfly can often be seen flittering from one group to another. Somehow, they just get along with everybody.
Dancing is a cool and interactive way for these sociable creatures to stay healthy and fit. These sparkly personalities will surely enjoy meeting new people from dance classes as well. The best part is, they can even pick up a few moves to impress their family and friends at the numerous parties and social gatherings they will be attending.
Among the long-standing trends in dance fitness is Zumba, a high-octane workout that combines salsa and Latin dance moves. It is usually performed to Latin and world music beats, and is an explosive workout intended to help you get lean. An hour of Zumba burns up to 500-600 calories.
Another staple dance workout you will find in most commercial gyms is Step Aerobics. It uses an elevated platform in its routine. The platform’s height can be tailored to suit individual needs by inserting risers under the step.
Also an excellent fat-burner, Step Aerobics burns about 500 calories in an hour. Other benefits of this workout include helping to boost coordination skills, and providing flexibility training to enhance joint movements.
The Adrenaline Junkie
Do you get a kick out of running mile upon mile, week after week? Do you crave the sweaty satisfaction that follows a prolonged bout of physical activity? If your answer is yes, chances are, you are probably an adrenaline junkie.
These restless folks regularly seek out thrilling pursuits or activities to get an adrenaline rush. Runners, in particular, have been known to be addicted to the ‘runner’s high’, a term used to describe the feeling of euphoria that is induced by a vigorous workout.
These adrenaline junkies can take things up a notch by participating in activities like marathon running. Incidentally, the sport is becoming a popular trend in Malaysia, with many websites and blogs now dedicated to documenting all the latest happenings on the local marathon-running scene.
The thing about marathons is that, because it is usually done in droves, you will likely meet other like-minded exercise enthusiasts along the way. As marathoners often train together, this also means that your view about the sport will be wrapped up in nice thoughts about new friends and a hearty protein shake afterwards.
This positive reinforcement will likely promote a sense of heightened self-sufficiency when it comes to maintaining a regular exercise schedule in the long run.
The best part about marathon running? It’s FREE. Plus, you will be the proud owner of some serious bragging rights once you complete that ultra-marathon.
Needless to say, there are about as many overweight marathon runners as there are flying pigs. An hour of running burns roughly 500-600 calories. Just make sure you have proper footwear to ensure your runs are comfortable and injury-free.
A more extreme version of the adrenaline junkie, these daredevils regularly dally with danger in highly-challenging stunts simply for the heck of it. Never mind that they might break a bone or two while attempting some crazy feat.
To satiate their thirst for thrills, the restless daredevil can take on Parkour, a training discipline that uses the human body to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible.
Parkour practitioners, called traceurs, are known for their ability to navigate from rooftop to rooftop, make death-defying jumps with safe landings, and scale-mounting obstacles like walls, fence and boulders.
There is a growing community of Parkour practitioners on the local front. These ballsy folks turn urban environments into training grounds to challenge the limits of their bodies and minds.
However, due to the dangerous nature of Parkour, it is important to consider the risk factors involved in any movement you intend to perform. A novice practitioner should always start small before graduating to a more difficult movement (eg practise jumping off a knee-high ledge before aiming for a waist-high one).
Home is where the heart is for these reserved folk. The homebody prefers their couch to huge venues or social hangouts any day. But just because you love your couch doesn’t mean you have to look like a couch potato. Your road to fitness can begin anywhere, even from the centre of your living room.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to splurge on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer to get a good workout. Home fitness videos are a nifty alternative for those who do not have access to the gym, or those who simply prefer to exercise at home.
There is an abundance of available home fitness videos to choose from, ranging from dance aerobics to more intense exercise programmes such as Insanity or the P90X. These home-based workouts provide an avenue for the homely to stay healthy.
The only downside to working out alone is that there is no one to watch for your form. Exercises that are done incorrectly can often lead to muscle strains or injury.
Luckily, we now have Lord Google at our fingertips. So be sure to look up any new exercise regimes or movements you are unfamiliar with before you start.
The Shy Guy
Unlike the homebody, while these shy fellows have no problem leaving the house, they clam up whenever they find themselves in a large crowd or among unfamiliar faces.
For the shy and de-conditioned fitness novice, we recommend group fitness classes such as indoor cycling. While there is no real need for verbal interaction in these classes, they create an opportunity for those unacquainted with human contact to mingle and to potentially make new friends.
Such classes promote a sense of togetherness, as fellow participants strive towards the mutual goal of improved health and fitness. Having a lead cycling instructor to guide and cheer you on is also a great motivator.
The good thing about cycling in a comfortable indoor studio is that any risk of getting run over by a truck or being eaten up by a bear (depending on your location) is removed.
In Malaysia, indoor cycling offers a safe respite from the sun, which makes exercising outdoors a rather unappealing prospect for some.
The Kiasu (Competitive) People
A little friendly rivalry can be healthy, especially when you are trying out a new fitness programme. After all, there is nothing like getting a little push from your workout buddies when you feel like throwing in the towel.
For those who enjoy a challenge, we reckon that CrossFit – a strength and conditioning programme that utilises a short-duration, high-intensity protocol – may be just the thing for you.
The programme, aimed at providing “athlete-training” for the masses using constantly varied functional movements, has emerged as a superstar in the fitness world since its beginnings in the 2000s.
For the CrossFit enthusiast, much of the excitement lies in competing to be at the top of the scoreboard at the gym’s daily timed workout challenges or WODs (Workouts-of-the-Day) in a perpetual quest to get fitter, faster and stronger.
Obviously, he who trains like an athlete will look like one too. As CrossFit disciples will tell you, you can expect to make significant gains in strength over a short period of time with this gruelling programme.
The downside? Your hands will soon be as callused as a sailor’s from performing one too many power-lifting movements like the “clean-and-jerk”, swinging heavy kettlebells and doing multiple pull-ups.
Whether it is dealing with a rogue boss or a nitpicking in-law, we’ve all had those moments when we feel our inner-Hulk flare dangerously close to the surface, threatening to burst out of our clothes and to start smashing.
But surely there is a more positive way to deal with anger than to run amok in your boxers. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and relationships. Channel your inner-Hulk into martial arts such as muay thai or boxing instead.
Muay thai and angry folks seem almost a match made in anger-management heaven. Besides helping to deal with one’s aggression, the sport also hones physical capacities like strength, agility and stamina. The sport’s rigorous training also jacks up the body’s metabolism and burns off roughly 600-700 calories in a typical one-hour session.
Similarly, boxing also helps build strength, speed and endurance, and is an effective fat-buster, burning over 500 calories an hour when sparring with a partner. Both sports will come in handy if you ever need to save the world from whiny super-villains.
The Clean Freak
While many exercisers take a sweat-soaked shirt as a sign of an effective workout session, others balk at the thought of getting down and dirty. If breaking a sweat isn’t your thing, you can still get a good workout while keeping cool with exercises like swimming.
Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout that also has muscle-toning benefits. An easy swim burns roughly 500 calories an hour, while a more vigorous effort can help torch almost 700. Because water is about 800 times denser than air, each movement you make underwater is like a mini resistance workout for your entire body.
Each kick, push and pull that you muster while you swim works the core, hips, arms, shoulders and glutes.
Because you become virtually weightless when submerged underwater, there is little or no impact on the joints when you move. This means that you can swim just about as often as you like without risking injury. You certainly can’t say the same for running or CrossFit.
Can’t swim? Don’t sweat it. Water gyms that utilise underwater gym equipment such as treadmills, bicycles and elliptical trainers are becoming increasingly popular on our shores. The low injury risk from exercising underwater makes the regime suitable even for those unaccustomed to physical activity, or are slightly on the chubby side.
Whatever your preferences, whether you are a raving CrossFitter hell-bent on kicking your competitor’s butt or the shy guy who never could find the courage to talk to that cute girl at the gym, it is important to find an exercise regime that you really like doing.
Keep experimenting with different activities until you find something that you really enjoy. You can even try mixing things up for variety. As regular exercise has been proven to help you live longer and better, it only makes sense that you do something that you really like over the life-long course of your fitness journey.