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We all have individual likes, dislikes, motivations and temperaments, so why shouldn't physical activity reflect this?

Suzanne Brue, author of The 8 Colours of Fitness, realised several years ago that this could be applied scientifically through the Myers-Briggs personality typology.

During the course of her research, she found that many people were relieved to find their fitness personality type because it released them from feeling they needed to be a certain way or like a particular exercise.

"Physical activity is an expression of personality and some approaches are more suited to some personality types than others," she said.

The University of WA's Professor Bob Grove, who specialises in exercise and sports psychology, believes all personalities can find a good match with any activity but there are some keys to keeping active in the long run.

Firstly, choose something you like because it will hold your interest long term, he said. Also, start slowly and program it into your day; this will cause the activity eventually to become habitual and you will not have to think as much about actually doing exercise, because it will be second nature.

The eight types: which one are you?

Blue:
Conscientious Blues have a simple approach and like practical, organised goals and progress that can be charted. They exercise for a purpose and don't mind predictability - exercise is not for fun. Blues do not follow the latest fitness fads.

Likes: Cardio machines, rowing, running, water sports, walking, weight training.
Tip: Make a commitment. This will motivate Blues.

Gold:
Sensible, friendly, also exercise with a purpose; often because "it is the right thing to do". Fact-gathering and planning are important, and they often appreciate the order of team sports. They are practical and task-oriented, will learn correct technique, and break down goals into measurable steps.

Likes: Cardio equipment, golf, tennis, running, swimming, yoga.
Tip: Respond well to displays of achievements.

Red:
Being active is a lifestyle for Reds, but the word "exercise" or exercising simply to stay in shape is unappealing. They enjoy being with others, variety, and activities that are fun, fast-paced and high-energy - especially outdoors. Spontaneity is far preferable to schedules or planning.

Likes: Basketball, biking, climbing, inline skating, snowboarding, tennis.
Tip: Train for an event with others.

Green:
People in this type are the most likely to prefer solo activities, as they can connect with nature at their convenience. They do not exercise because they "have to", and regimented training and indoor settings are disliked. Greens get plenty of exercise if they find the right lifestyle.

Likes: Horseriding, biking, climbing, swimming, scuba diving, walking.
Tip: Enjoy the activities of daily living; anything that is natural.

Silver:
Novelty, flexibility and convenience drive this type. Exercise has to be disguised as fun; pure exercise and structure are unappealing, although anything can become dull. When training, start with the most enjoyable options to get momentum rolling.

Likes: Dancing, group classes, skiing, yoga, tai chi, running.
Tip: Choose activities that provide an opportunity to learn and satisfy natural curiosity.

Saffron:
Saffrons do not enjoy locking in exercise, so imposed routines and schedules can soon turn into a burden. This type become bored easily and must find activities that are a challenge, fun, provide freedom and have "flow" - ones that help them stop analysing.

Likes: Dance, martial arts, skating, yoga, fun or unique games.
Tip: Saffrons feel energised from outdoor activities.

White:
Not ones to dive in head-first, Whites need time to research and plan, and will act after careful reflection. Independent, they often create their own program, and will seek out familiarity. They prefer calm environments and working out when there are minimal people around.

Likes: Strength training, tai chi, walking, yoga, cardio equipment.
Tip: Choose repetitive activities that will let the mind drift.

Purple:
Purples are action-oriented - once they have a plan, they charge full steam ahead. They do not need to be pushed, and strive for self-improvement and competency. Purples like company but often find interaction distracting.

Likes: Pilates, running, strength training, swimming, walking, cardio machines.
Tip: Organise exercise into categories: cardio, strength, flexibility; or light, moderate, intense; or indoor and outdoor.

Source: The 8 Colors of Fitness: Discover Your Color-Coded Fitness Personality and Create an Exercise Program You'll Never Quit!

The West Australian

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