Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Exercise and the Introvert

I'm coming out of the proverbial closet.

I'm an introvert and I enjoy exercising by myself.

There! I've said it, but what does that mean?

I find most group classes onerous and the prospect of having a running buddy makes me slightly queasy.  This isn't to say I don't enjoy occasionally (about 5% of the time) exercising with other people.  But at heart, I'm basically a lone wolf.

Why am I admitting this now?

Introverts are often misunderstood. People believe that introversion is analogous to shyness. However, shyness is inherently associated with an element of nervousness and anxiety at the prospect of social interaction. Introverts can be shy, but they are not all shy by their nature of introversion. An introvert is simply someone who feels energized by being alone, and drained when they are interacting with other people. We enjoy spending time quietly processing all of the inner workings of our brains, exploring different thought patterns.

It doesn't mean we lack social skills, and when we want to be alone, we aren't necessarily depressed or upset with you. We just prefer to be alone.

It does mean however, that we don't want to strike up a conversation about trivial small talk (the weather as a prime example) while we're on the treadmill or lifting weights. It means that when we're running a race, we don't feel all that chatty. We're mostly focused on what's going on in our heads and the feedback we're receiving from our bodies.

And you know what? That's perfectly acceptable.

If you prefer working out alone, don't let anyone try to tell you that group exercise is the best form of exercise or that a running buddy would be a great help to you. If you feel like being a social exerciser one day, and not the next, that's okay too.