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What's Your Exercise Personality?

Find the right moves -- for you -- that'll give you the motivation to exercise.

Exercise Personality No. 3: You Like Your Activity to Be Intense continued...

Exercise Match: Sign up for a competition -- like a 5K walk or race -- right off the bat. Set weekly goals and then use a pedometer or a mobile app that tracks your walks or runs so you can chart your progress.

Just be careful to keep it real and gradual. "If you take on too much, you're more likely to fail or injure yourself," Alderman says. Ask a friend, a family member, or a coach or professional trainer if she thinks your goals are realistic.

Your Best Motivation to Exercise: Add a bit of a dare to your exercise to really ramp up your motivation. Try scaling a climbing wall or riding at a skateboard park. If you like water, try canoeing or kayaking. Remember to always have the right safety gear and to have an expert helping you out.

"Just be sure to do it in a supervised setting," says George Graham, a physical education consultant and the founder PECentral.org. Not only will you be safer and keep your parents happy -- you'll build more skills too.

Exercise Personality No. 4: You Feel Totally Uncoordinated

You might be a whiz at academics and learn new subjects easily. But when it comes to moving your body, you may not give yourself the chance to practice before you expect to be a star.

Exercise Match: Try a nontraditional sport that seems more like a game: ping-pong, croquet, badminton, Frisbee -- anything that gets you up and moving. And preferably something that encourages laughter too.

Check out classes at your community center or a local gym for ideas. Write down activities you want to try.

If you're just looking for a way to move, put on music and dance. It doesn't matter if you're uncoordinated; it only matters that you're moving and having fun.

Your Best Motivation to Exercise: If you have access to a gym, try weight lifting. On day one, a certified trainer or someone who is qualified can show you how to use a machine for weight training -- and typically these machines don't require a lot of coordination.

"Weight training gives you improved body composition, more strength, and probably an improved sense of well-being," says Steven Stovitz, MD, the team physician for the University of Minnesota athletic department.

Or you may find a more social activity motivating. In that case, start or join a club -- say, a Frisbee club at school. You'll learn to take the focus off yourself and just enjoy the experience of the game.

Exercise Personality No. 5: You Get Discouraged Easily

When you're trying to exercise more, it can be challenging to not expect too much too fast. It's especially hard if you tend to compare yourself to others. The key is to remember that everybody is different and has his or her own talents.

Exercise Match: You can pick any activity, just plan on starting slow and gradually working up to your goals.

Each time you exercise, focus on what you did, not on what you didn't do.

Picture yourself achieving your goals. "If it's running, imagine yourself running through a ribbon," Rose-Kayser says. "That helps you take it from 'I can't' to 'I will.'"

Your Best Motivation to Exercise: Compete against yourself. Focus on consistency first -- just move every day or most days. Do something that makes you feel good about your progress -- for example, placing stars on your calendar for each workout you complete. Write down how long you exercise and compare your progress month by month.

Also look for progress you may notice slowly over time, like how quickly you get tired or breathless, how good your body feels afterwards, and the energy you have to get your body moving.

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Reviewed on January 19, 2012