Over the last six months or so, the introvert/extrovert discussion has just blown up online. And personally, I love it.
The difference between the two isn’t just a matter of loving to be at home alone with your books vs. wanting to party all the time. For example, I’m an introvert, but I’m not a hermit. I enjoy spending time with friends and can even be a lot of fun at a party (so long as I’m prepared and in the right mood for it), but it’s always a bit draining, and I need some time alone to recharge before doing it all again.
Basically, I can sparkle like a damn unicorn, but I have a finite amount of sparkle before I’m out. And once I’m out, well, you’ll know it.
(Not sure where you land? I really like the Myers Briggs tests, like this one. You’ll find out far more than just introvert/extrovert tendencies! Or, of course, you can see whether you agree more with the introvert or extrovert listicles on Buzzfeed, which is always a good time.)
Anyway, understanding this part of ourselves can explain some of our likes and dislikes. For example, do you love trying new and different yoga DVDs at home but find yourself wanting to just crawl into a hole and die zomfg DIE when you go to a yoga class and the instructor actually comes over and adjusts your posture? (Yes, I’m raising my hand over here … while shuddering with anxiety.) Yeah, you might be an introvert.
Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you should always work out by yourself and never partake in group activities. Lots of introverts I know really dig structured interaction (like in a work setting), and your workouts can be just that. With that in mind, below is a brief, not-even-close-to-exhaustive guide to exercise for introverts for New Year New Rear Week!
A Guide to Exercise for Introverts
1. Exercise alone. It’s kind of a no-brainer, but let me just say that there’s no shame in this. If you prefer to exercise solo, then do it. If you set a 5k PR in the woods and nobody’s watching, did it still happen? DAMN RIGHT IT DID.
2. Find workout buddies who “get” you. Want the accountability of a workout partner but can’t deal with making idle chit chat while you run or spot each other? I bet your close friends would understand, especially when you make it clear that it’s definitely not about them. I know mine do. And shoot, you might even find someone who doesn’t want to make smalltalk with you, either!
3. Find the right group exercise for you. If my mention of the hands-on yoga instructor above made you break out in a cold sweat, or if you can’t handle the hooting and hollering that comes along with some Zumba classes, don’t swear off group ex altogether. Some classes, like Spin, are great — everyone does his or her own thing and there’s no inter-student interaction, really. And I’ve participated in some pretty solitary Body Flow classes. And remember, a lot of this will have to do with the instructor, so if it’s important to you, ask the front desk about instructors for classes you’re interested in. I bet you won’t be the first to specifically seek out instructors known for never calling out their students. Bonus — you just might find an instructor you love who teaches other classes!
4. Join groups, but do your own thing. I run with groups a lot, but I probably only talk to people while I run about 30 percent of the time. I like having the accountability of being somewhere at a set time to do a set route, and I like that feeling of finishing among a group. Sometimes I’m happy to chat, but more often than not, I put my earbuds in and ignore everything (and everyone) else. I’m not even close to the only one who does this, and you won’t be either, so don’t be afraid of joining a running (or cycling, or hiking, or whatever) group — it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to, you know, interact. Much, anyway. Swimming is also great — you can meet up with a group at the pool, and maybe you’ll go on the same intervals, but there’s really no talking while you’re swimming. It’s literally impossible. (Is that why I like it so much?)
Are you an introvert (or just knowledgeable on the topic)? What tips would you share? —Kristen