I’ve not done much exercise recently. The last few weeks have been particularly tough as my wife has been away, so I’ve been a single-parent and that has meant that I just haven’t found the time or the routine to include any exercise into my day. However, even before that I haven’t been doing much.
I’ve been trying to work out why that is and the main reason (excuse) I give is that work is too busy. That’s true to an extent, but I’m sure I don’t work longer or harder than many other people. And of course deep down I know that doing more exercise will help me with work, it will make me feel better and more alert and therefore be more productive.
So what is it?
Well, I was pondering it and I think it’s to do with the fact that I’m an introvert and my job is very extroverted.
By introvert, I don’t mean the often held (and often wrong) definition of being shy – as most people who know me will categorically state, I’m not shy. What I mean is the psychological definition of an introvert as someone who recharges their batteries from within rather than from without (as an extrovert would).
“a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.”
A quick “test” would be: you’re in a room full of people, chatting and talking to lots of them, it’s a wonderful evening, but afterwards do you want to a) carry on the party and go out somewhere else; b) go home and read a good book before bed? If a) you’re an extrovert; if b) you’re an introvert. And I’m definitely b.
Yet my job requires me to almost constantly be in that metaphorical room full of people – by the end of the day I’m exhausted. And unless I really force myself – too tired to go out for that run / swim / bike ride etc.
And yet, just as I was pondering this I saw a tweet with this list – 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert (ht to Simon Williams). Of course, if you look at number 16 on the list you’ll see that the very fact I was pondering this for a while fits.
Each of the points on that list I can nod along to – some more than others, but they all have a grain of truth in them for me. However it is point 7 that is particularly relevant to this post:
“One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.”
What I need to do is teach myself that the time alone can be while out running. When I do it, I do find it meditative and relaxing, but too often the couch calls first.