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Introvert or extrovert? Here’s how to find the best exercise for your personality type

a photo of two women smiling at the gym
(Image credit: Getty/Richard Drury)

When it comes to my exercise routine, I’m an introvert. I would rather head out for a run solo, with a good podcast or audiobook, than spend the session making conversation with a training partner. In fact, even in a group class, I’d rather attend alone than with someone I know.

In my non-exercise life, I’m an introverted extrovert — I love being around people and can easily make connections with someone I’ve just met, but I also need time to recharge alone. Introverts and extroverts are some of the oldest personality types in the book, but there's a growing school of thought that your personality type makes you enjoy certain types of exercise more than others. 

In fact, a study of 2000 people found that introverts are more likely to exercise in the morning, whereas extroverted people find it easier to exercise in the evening. (this makes sense to me — I can easily do both.) 

But what are the best types of exercise for your personality type? Introvert or extrovert, read on to find out more. 

What is an extrovert? 

According to Simple Psychology (opens in new tab), an extrovert is a “person with qualities of a personality type known as extroversion, which means that they get their energy from being around other people.” 

Extroverts tend to be more outgoing and talkative, seeking out as much social interaction as they can get. They enjoy spending time in a group and feel energized when around people. 

The best exercise routine for extroverted people 

While the study mentioned above suggests that extroverted people often prefer to exercise in the evening when they feel most energized after a day of socializing, what about the type of exercise? 

Group fitness classes: Unsurprisingly, it’s thought that extroverted people tend to perform best when in a group environment, or playing group sports. People who feed off the energy of others will often enjoy high-energy lasses, such as spinning, Zumba, or step aerobics. 

Free weights/ HIIT workouts: Research has suggested that extroverts prefer higher intensity workouts, like weight lifting, or HIIT training. A paper by the British Psychological Society found that extroverted people prefer to exercise at a gym, surrounded by other people than they do at home. Conversely, introverted people didn’t mind as much where they exercised, as long as they got to do it alone. 

Personal training: Again, extroverts thrive off the connection, so while the introvert in the gym might find the thought of one-on-one personal training too much to bear, the extrovert is likely to enjoy it. 

a photo of a woman running on a treadmill

(Image credit: Getty/ EmirMemedovski)

What is an introvert? 

According to Simple Psychology (opens in new tab), an introvert “can be defined as being someone who gets their energy from being in their own company, having time to ‘recharge’ on their own.”

Introverts expend energy around other people, so will often prefer to spend time alone, and prefer not to be the center of attention. 

The best exercise routine for introverted people

Endurance activities: Introverts are often thought to enjoy endurance activities like running, biking, and swimming, all of which can be done solo, and give the introvert plenty of time to think. 

Mind/body disciplines: Introverts are thought to enjoy sports like yoga and Pilates more than extroverts, as they focus on the mind and body connection. 

Weight circuits: There’s a theme here — unsurprisingly, introverted people are thought to enjoy exercising without communication with others, so setting up a circuit of exercises in the gym is thought to be preferable to a group HIIT class. 

Of course, these personality types aren’t the be-all and end-all, and actually, a lot of the time, you’ll probably find yourself to be a mix of both, but there are benefits in working out which types of exercise leave you feeling energized, and which you dread. I love running alone, but also enjoy a game of tennis, or a group HIIT class when I’m in the right mood. 

Exercise is about far more than burning calories, it’s about looking after your physical and mental health, so finding the kinds of workouts that leave you feeling happier and recharged means you’re more likely to establish a healthy fitness regime you enjoy. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? We’ve found a beginner’s running plan that’ll get you from the couch to 30-minutes of continuous running in just six weeks, the best ab workouts, and the best exercises to try based on your body type

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.