January 31, 2020
From school, we’re taught that exercise is something you do alongside others, with team sports like netball, football and rugby taking centre stage. During cross country runs and gymnastics, we were surrounded by other bodies. And as adults, it can be just as hectic during a solo session at the gym. 
An Introverts Guide To Enjoying Exercise – By Introverts
Some people may thrive when bumping shoulders with others while exercising, but for introverts – who often feel drained in the constant company of others – it’s a slightly different story. And group workouts are unlikely to leave them feeling energised. 
That’s not to say they can’t enjoy keeping fit, though. We spoke to people who identify as introverts about their changing relationship with exercise, from initial challenges to discovering a life-long love for it. Here are their stories. “Cold water swimming is the perfect balance of community and doing something alone.”Alice-May Purkiss, 31, from London, often opted out of exercise as school because of her introverted tendencies. In her 20s, she experimented with running and Zumba – taking part in the latter “always at the back, in the corner, furthest away from the mirror”.
But she didn’t discover her true passion, swimming, until 2015. She’d had treatment for breast cancer and wanted to find a way to reconnect with her body – in a space where she felt comfortable. 
“Cold water swimming has done that for me,” she says, “and it’s the perfect balance of community and doing something alone. I don’t really talk to people when I’m in the water, but I might have a chat in the changing room if I feel like it.”READ MORE: How To Learn To Love Exercise In 2020 – Not Just Suffer Through It Now she’s a regular in the water, Alice-May sees the mental, as well as physical, benefits of exercise. “It helps me make sense of the world when it feels like there’s no sense to be found,” she says. “It gives me clarity when everything is cloudy and reminds me what it means to be alive.
“I don’t know if this is a generalisation, but I often think introverts think about things a lot – I certainly do – and so finding space for those thoughts, or stepping away from them, has been a game-changer.”Alice-May’s tips for introverts:“Don’t shy away from exercise just because it feels terrifying. Also, accounts like See My Strong on Instagram, run by Poorna Bell, remind me that everyone has hang-ups about exercise but we can all work through them.” “I run by myself so I can switch off and tune into my body.”Danielle Pegg Mowbray, 39, from Newcastle upon Tyne, runs alone two or three times a week. “There’s a group of people at work who go running, play football together or go to the gym at lunchtimes, but I just can’t do it,” she explains. “I like to be by myself so I can switch off and tune into my body.
“I don’t intentionally try to be unsociable, but I do find that being around people all day is draining – even if they’re lovely and I have a nice time. I need alone time to recharge my batteries.”
Danielle hated running in school, but gave it another try four and a half years ago when she’d been made redundant and wanted to keep her spirits up. She challenged herself to run a marathon over a month for the British Heart Foundation, in memory of her dad who died in 2013.
“Without the pressure of other people around me, or it being a race or a cross country expedition like at school, I really enjoyed it. And I’ve been running ever since.”Danielle’s tips for introverts:“Don’t feel pressured into exercise being a social thing. That’s great for some people, but if you need space to be alone then do it. You don’t have to chat to everyone in a class. You don’t have to be the one at the front. Find your sport and your space and revel in it your own way.”“I’m more confident after signing up to an online fitness programme.”Tutu Akinyede, 35, from Kent, thrives in quiet, calm environments, which has discouraged her from joining fitness classes in the past. But in February 2019 she started exercising for the first time in her adult life – initially to lose weight – and hasn’t looked back. 
Tutu found her groove by signing up to a programme by online fitness instructor, April Laugh. “I’ve lost 30lbs and I’m still hoping to lose another 20lbs,” she says. “I’m much more confident in my appearance. I’m super energetic and my mental health is at top notch.”
Tutu runs a tutoring school in Kent and is also a mum, so she often struggles to find time for herself. But establishing a fitness routine, which also included running, has helped her redress the balance. 
“Exercise helps me get that me-time, it clears my head completely,” she says. “I recently discovered that I don’t think when I run, my head is completely clear.”Tutu’s tips for introverts:“Start moving! Run, walk or join a small, quiet gym.”  “Branching out and trying a spin class has left me feeling so much more confident.”Lucy Farrington-Smith, 27, from Leamington Spa, also likes running alone – having started last year to boost her fitness. “I love not bothering anyone else when I exercise,” she says.
But she marked the new year by attending her first spin class after previously being “terrified” of the idea. She wanted to push herself to try something new – and “what better than a dark room full of strangers sweating to the same beat on a bike?”.
After window shopping the gym for about a month, she booked a class, went on her own, and threw herself in. “I’ve never looked back,” she says. “My legs don’t feel as appreciative yet, though.”
Lucy says branching out and trying spin has left her feeling so much more confident and empowered. “It’s a moment in time that’s my own, and I can rely on it to be there after a rubbish day in the office when all I want to do is angrily pedal to The Prodigy,” she says. Lucy’s tips for introverts:“Do your research. I feel safer when I’m equipped with knowledge – even tiny things like if there’s a toilet or where I put my bag. I used YouTube voraciously and followed vlogs of people doing similar things to me, and learned through their experiences – especially how much you’ll need a towel!” “I prefer to run in the dark when less people are around.” Tariq Butt, 40, from Bolton, is an inspector with Greater Manchester police and says when he’s not “catching baddies” he likes to work out – which, for him, means avoiding the gym at peak times. 
Staying fit was a requirement for his job when he was an officer, so he had to find a way to enjoy it. He started running with music through his headphones – both for motivation and to stop any unwanted conversations – and discovered running has its perks. 
“Being an introvert has driven me off the road, as I prefer running up on the hills, where there are less people and more sheep!” he jokes. “If I do run on the streets, I prefer to go in the dark when less people are around – even though I know they aren’t watching me, because I’m certainly not that interesting.”
Tariq says exercise allows him to have thinking time, especially on long distance runs. “It’s when I come up with some of my best ideas,” he says. “It’s also great for my mental health and wellbeing because, being a police officer, there are some things that you can’t un-see. That time while running allows me to process some of the more traumatic experiences.” Tariq’s tips for introverts:“Use technology, such as headphones or a music app, and also an app to track your training. Headphones will reduce any interaction and having the tracker app gives you a conversation starter or fall-back if you need one.” READ MORE: How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious At The Gym – By People Who've Conquered It See, Working Out On Your Period Can Be Bloody Brilliant Beat The Chill With The Best Winter Running Gear For Women
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.