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Don’t like going to the gym? It could be your personality

11 January 2018

The effectiveness of someone’s exercise regime may depend on their individual personality type, with more creative people better suited to outdoor activities.

That is the key finding of research being presented today, Thursday 11 January, 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.

John Hackston said:

“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.”

More than 800 people from a range of businesses across several countries were surveyed for the study, which found that people with extraverted personality types were more likely to prefer exercising at the gym.

Staff 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.

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.

John Hackston added:

“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.

“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.

“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.”


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