Inside Out: How Your Workout Defines Your Personality
PUBLISHED IN BUSINESS WORLD MAGAZINE. Different types of exercise can trigger different personality traits by impacting different areas of the brain!
Have you ever felt that blood-rush after a high-impact kick-boxing workout? It made you feel you can take on anyone or anything in the world and triumph?
Have you felt sheer strength after a heavy weight-training routine, transferring that grit into the rest of your day, tackling every challenge with unwavering determination?
Have you felt the wild joy and playfulness that takes over you when you dance, abandoning shyness and fear, flooding you with energy and effortless charisma that you can carry back to work or into your relationships?
How about yoga? Ever experienced that deep relaxation, gently stretching your abilities, consciously releasing pain and trauma stored in your mind and muscles, healing you with each breath?
Yes. Movement is medicine. Movement is power. Movement is the integration of body, mind and spirit in ways that can INSTANTLY shift your energy and dominant personality trait for the day.
While we intuitively know and feel this phenomenon, science is now supporting it with solid research. Exercise shapes not just the waistline, but if you peer into the brains of active people, you’d see that different exercises strengthen and sculpt the brain and its neural functions in myriad different ways. In other words, the workout you choose, or the sedentary lifestyle you choose, is shaping your personality, both inside and out.
This isn’t just about all the old news we’ve heard – about exercise shuttling nutrients, oxygen, growth factors and hormones into the right brain zones and across the body. But a new chapter of understanding is being opened, where research proves that high-intensity intervals (HIIT), running, yoga, athletic drills, aerobics, combat skills and weight training – each have very specific effects on neuron formation, our thinking and capabilities.
Whether you have a big pitch at work today, or you want to quit smoking, or you need an anti-depressant – there’s a specific workout style that will serve you better for the day!
Summarizing research from Harvard University, The University of British Columbia and the University of Groningen, Netherlands:
Weight-Lifting: Leads to better neuron formation in the hippocampus
Builds mental resilience and will-power
Improves complex thoughts, reasoning and problem-solving capacity
Boost executive function
Model Characters – Halle Berry, Blake Lively, Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson!
Cardiovascular Exercise (dance, running, cycling etc.): Causes hippocampus to release BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), causing the greatest growth in the brain, forming new brain-cells
Dramatically improves memory and cognitive repair (as such, staving off Alzheimer’s, Dementia etc.)
Decreases depression and mood-swings by 70% if regularly practised
Recycle emotions more quickly
Feel more confident
Model Characters – Rihana, Milind Soman, Miranda Kerr
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), Functional Fitness & Circuit Training
These modes of working out usually combine the elements of weight/strength training with cardio. Aerobic and anaerobic styles are woven together. So you receive the best of both worlds! In fact, a 20min functional fitness session was proven to correct attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, helping them study with better focus and retention (University of Illinois). From the classroom to the board-room, right from amplifying the power of your presence and your creativity, to help you make the right decisions – these workout styles will help you bring your A-Game.
Model Characters – Michelle Obama, Cameron Diaz, Jason Momoa, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez!
Sports-Drills: Improve Cerebellum Function
Enhance agile thinking: enabling excellence in MULTIPLE subjects, and being able to better connect the dots in complex situations.
Quick response and decision-making (Yes, you’ll be able to catch your Starbucks cup soon as it falls off the counter! Think of the movie Matrix!)
Model Characters – All our cricket stars, Gigi Hadid (Volleyball, Horseback, Boxing)
Yoga: Reduce triggering Sympathetic Nervous System & Increase the action of Para-sympathetic Nervous System
Emotional control and mental clarity (helps you be a calm and collected person)
Relaxes and heals
Overcome stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders etc.
Model Characters – Shilpa Shetty, Jennifer Aniston, Ryan Gosling
Also, you can change your workout environment based on your need for the hour. Feeling lonely? Attend a group fitness class! Need some me-time? Go for a home workout. Could you do with some fresh perspectives and new ideas? Take your workout outdoors!
The conclusion: vary your workouts depending on your goals and needs for the day. It is important to listen to your body and to your consciousness. If you are tired and need to rejuvenate, don’t feel guilty about going for a gentle yoga class instead of pumping iron. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some power and motivation, shed your fears and self-doubt - head for a Crossfit-style class!
Every exercise comes with its own super-powers.
Explore. Enjoy. Accomplish.
Choose who you want to be each day!