19/01/2011 09:15 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Are You A Fitness Alpha Or Beta?

Before you sign up for the marathon or splash out on a new bike, take some time to consider if you're choosing the right sport for your personality type. Find out if you should be training for a triathlon or hunting down the nearest yoga studio.

Should you run, stretch or swim? Photo: Getty

Who are you?
Are you the kind of person who lies in bed thinking about what to accomplish the following day from 6am onwards or are you more of a sofa surfer type? Classic "Type A" or "Alpha" personalities gravitate towards fast-paced jobs, and are usually ambitious and competitive. Beta types are more laid back, put less emphasis on achievement and would rather be happy than in a high-paying job they hate.

Choose carefully
If you've identified yourself as a high-achieving Alpha type, you'll be drawn to exercise which challenges you and puts you up against other people, such as distance running, ball games and triathlons. Beta personalities tend to pick activities which are slower-paced, like yoga or pilates.

Don't get bored
Just as you may be drawn to people with a different personality type to yours, choosing a type of exercise that takes you out of your comfort zone can really spice up your workout. Alphas should try a slow country walk occasionally instead of pounding the treadmill for an hour, while beta types should enter a 5k race to get them up off the sofa.

Upgrade or slow down
If you're an Alpha who once tried yoga and was bored with the pace, try upgrading your workout to the more challenging Ashtanga or Bikram routine. Betas who want to try running should start gradually with a run/walk programme to ensure they don't burn out too soon.

Pick a partner
Exercising with a friend can be a real motivation to get your trainers on. Pick them carefully, though, as you don't want to be put off by someone racing ahead or feel bored in a class which doesn't work you hard enough. If you're an Alpha working with a Beta friend, encourage them to push a bit harder, while Betas should try to get the Alphas to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

Going it alone
Working out by yourself can give you the head space to deal with what happened during the day. It's particularly good for people in high-stress jobs as it lets them get out of the work environment and concentrate on something else. Daydreamers and procrastinators (classic Beta signs) will feel a sense of self-worth from regular exercise, particular if they set and achieve a goal they never believed they could accomplish.

Mix it up
What if you're a mix of both personality types? Sometimes you'll feel more inclined to stretch and relax, while other days you'll be desperate for a seriously sweaty workout. Try to incorporate a mix of activities into your routine, so you can head down to the yoga studio when it suits you, or grab your bike for a long ride when you need to burn some energy.

Care about health? Follow us on Twitter and become our fan on Facebook