Your Preferred Workout Setting May Reveal Your Personality Type

Do you prefer to workout at the gym or outdoors? The answer might reveal something about your personality.

A new study has found that your preferred exercise setting — whether at a gym or outdoors — is closely tied to specific personality traits. For example, extroverted types and those who rely on objective logic and/or regimens are more likely to prefer working out at the gym.

On the other hand, creative people — particularly those who enjoy working with new ideas — as well as individuals who focus more on feelings and values rather than logic may be much better suited to outdoor activities such as cycling and running.

The findings are being presented by John Hackston, chartered psychologist and head of Thought Leadership at OPP, at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference of the Division of Occupational Psychology in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“The most important piece of advice to come out of this research is that there is not one type of exercise that is suited to everyone,” said Hackston.

“There can be pressure to follow the crowd to the gym or sign up to the latest exercise fad, but it would be much more effective for them to match their personality type to an exercise plan that is more likely to last the test of time.

The study involved more than 800 people from a range of businesses across several countries. The researchers found that people with extraverted personality types were more likely to prefer exercising at the gym.

More creatively minded staff, particularly those who enjoy working with new ideas, were much better suited to outdoor activities such as cycling and running when compared to a structured gym regime.

In addition, those with a preference for objective logic were also more likely to stick with a regimented exercise plan than those who view feelings and values as being more important.

“We were keen to investigate how organisations could help their staff’s development through exercise, finding that matching an individual’s personality type to a particular type of exercise can increase both the effectiveness and the person’s enjoyment of it,” said Hackston.

“Organisations can help their staff to improve their fitness using this research, with increased fitness potentially leading to lower illness-related absences and increased employee satisfaction.”

Source: British Psychological Society (BPS)