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Team sports might not be your perfect fitness fit if you can't work well with others and you don't care about winning. And if you love to hang out with people and chat, the loneliness of the long-distance runner may leave you cold.
What's more, according to a review conducted in 2013, both individual and team sports can produce psychological and social benefits. The most common include improved self-esteem and the ability to have more fulfilling social interactions. And even though team sports are more specifically associated with improved mental health, the benefits associated with solo physical activities exist as well.
The moral? To take full of advantage of all the health benefits of working out, including psychological and social, you don't necessarily have to join a team sport. Instead, it's important to find a workout that's right for you. This level of satisfaction will also largely affect your desire to stick with the new workout.
Roughly half of those who start an exercise program drop out within six months, the American College of Sports Medicine says. To beat those odds, a fitness program should be enjoyable—and that's very personal. Dig deep to find what works for you.
Here are five basic fitness types and suggestions for finding the exercise RX that'll keep you working out for the long run.
Type 1: You're Competitive
You might like: tennis, basketball, softball, volleyball, or any competitive sport. Consider joining a local team.
Log on to Sportsvite to find teams, players, and partners in your community. You could also enter a running or walking event (find one nearby atRunSignUp) or take part in a cycling race.
Type 2: You've Got a Strong Work Ethic
You might like: physical chores around the house or yard, such as heavy-duty housework and gardening, washing and waxing cars, painting, raking leaves, washing windows, and chopping wood. If your yard is no challenge, consider working at a local community garden. Visit the American Community Gardening Association and enter your ZIP code to find one near you.
Type 3: You're a Social Butterfly
You might like: group exercise activities at your local health club, including dance classes like hip-hop and Zumba. Team sports might also appeal to you, especially if you also like to compete. If you don't, join or consider starting your own walking club; visit the American Volkssport Association
Type 4: You're Goal-oriented
You might like: participating in a fitness event you must train for, such as a walk, run, cycling race, or triathlon. The key for you is to have goals you can track, such as distance, time, and your weight, so you can see your progress. Once the event is over, sign up for another one so you always have a challenge on the horizon.
Type 5: You're Introspective
You might like: activities that make you turn inward, connect you to nature, or can easily be done alone, such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, walking, running, cycling, swimming and hiking.
Overall, it's important to find a physical activity that you enjoy and that fits your skill level. Once you do, you'll reap the benefits—psychological, social and physical—of sports.