Zen and the Art of Physical Maintenance: Which Workout Suits Your Spirit?

Hiking Group (2)


Everybody’s different, and one of the major factors involved with working out regularly is finding an exercise program you enjoy. If you can find a form of exercise you like to do – or at the very least, don’t dread – you’re going to be much more likely to stick with it. And as we all know, consistency is the only way to get results from any fitness regimen.

So how do we figure out which type of exercise is the one for us? There’s no magic formula, and there may be a bit of trial and error involved – but if you’re willing to hang in there and stay open-minded, you will definitely find a workout that suits your lifestyle and fitness level.

Below are some different exercise ideas to help anyone find a perfect form of fitness for their personality.


1. Naturally Fit—

Are you happiest when outdoors? Do you find peace in nature? If you’re a fan of all things outdoorsy, you may get into your exercise zen-groove via physical activities such as cycling, hiking, walking, running and rollerblading. Other ideas might be: snowboarding, swimming, skiing, golfing, or outdoor team sports such as soccer, softball or football.

In regions with temperate climates, there are even outdoor yoga classes, and daily fitness boot camps, generally led by professional trainers.

If you love any excuse for fresh air (as do many people who work in a stuffy office setting all day), find an activity you like that’s performed outdoors and give it a shot. If it’s not your thing, try another and keep seeking until you find some type of open-air movement that makes you feel happy.


2. Slightly Shy—

Many people who are beginners, out of shape, or new to the fitness world feel self-conscious at first, which can keep them from stepping out to try new activities. This is absolutely normal, so if this is your current state of mind, don’t be embarrassed: there are plenty of things you can do to get fit all by yourself, and things that will help you work up the nerve to eventually join other people.

There are DVD workouts for every type of exercise imaginable, but if you’d like to try before you buy, hop on YouTube and search for free versions of the workouts you’re considering and give them a test drive. There are also many free shows on cable television you can record and try, such as daily yoga sessions.

If you like the idea of team sports or something more extreme, but feel too intimidated to join a crowd of strangers, Wii Fit games can be a fun alternative that simulates the competitive experience of playing against people in the comfort of your living room.


3. Social Butterfly—

If you love meeting new people and are energized by social activities, some type of team sport or group class might be the perfect way for you to satisfy your need for conversation and mental stimulation with the bonus of a fitter body.

There are indoor and outdoor versions of soccer, running clubs, hiking clubs, fitness boot camps, and different types of aerobic-type classes (Zumba, step, cycling, dance, etc.) available through many gyms if these sound appealing.

If you’re looking for a more mellow exercise experience, Pilates and yoga are also a great way to connect with people while benefitting from the motivation group workouts can offer.


4. Dance Fever—

If you’re the type of person who dislikes exercise that feels like exercise, you might consider taking a dance class, perhaps through a local gym, community center, or dance academy to “trick” yourself into fitness while having fun.

Zumba is a popular type of dance with a workout feel, but more traditional dance classes such as ballroom, hip-hop, modern, ballet, jazz, or country-style dancing will give you the exercise you seek, and new skills to show off on the dance floor at the next wedding you attend.


5. Structure Seeker—

Some people love the structure of a set workout and feel uneasy about trying new things or stepping outside of the box – and that’s okay. If you’re a “Type A” who thrives on routine and consistency, and find this is keeping you from finding a workout for your style, you might consider strength training.

Weight machines offer a set amount of weight to lift and a concrete number of repetitions per set, which can soothe people who like to feel in charge, with the added benefit of fast, noticeable results that will motivate the easily discouraged.

If structure makes you feel safe and might encourage you to work out consistently, grab a notebook and pencil to record your numbers, and head to the gym for a form of exercise you can completely control.


There are endless activities to try, and multiple ways to stay fit, leaving none of with us any excuse to be sluggish. So if you’re in a fitness slump, don’t give up; use the tips above to find the workout that suits your spirit, and get moving!