For a long time, I’ve always believed that you need to find the right sport or physical activity that matches your personality to feed your motivation forever. This wonderful personality-sport fusion, will keep you cycling, jogging, hiking, walking, golfing or
lawn-bowling for many years.
Having Different Habits and Social Needs: Finding the Right Fit, Passion
I used to extoll the virtues of cycling to anyone that was willing to listen. No more. Not everyone is suited for cycling, rollerblading or swimming. We are creatures of habits
with different patterns and socialization needs with others. Or not socializing with others…which is why some of us revel in the solitary walk or bike ride at times.
Team Sports Not For Everyone
When I was a child, I enjoyed playing softball daily under the hot summer with other girls before and after school. Our school had segregated sex playgrounds. Our softball diamonds for both guys and girls, were asphalt pavement. Our school playgrounds did not have grass. But no matter, kids played softball, soccer on the playground in the late 1960’s to 1970’s at our school.
But gradually, I started to withdraw from team sports. I didn’t like the reminder, that really, I wasn’t as athletically inclined as some other girls in volleyball and basketball. Team sports forced me to compare my performance against other players.
I also didn’t like the dependency of my role as a team player for the team’s overall winning or losing stance. I tried field hockey for a few weeks, but dropped out. I can’t even remember the reason. Field hockey was clashing at the same time, with my rising passion in art and poetry writing –both solitary activities.
Physical Activities- Going Solo But with Choices for Companionship
In the background of my maturing body and angst of teenage years, I was still biking occasionally around my neighbourhood on a one-speed bike that I shared with 3 other sisters. (A fourth sister was still too young to bike.)
I didn’t go very far, but I loved cycling because there was no team to please nor need to conform within the game rules. I could bike at my own pace. Besides, as the eldest child, it was a temporary escape from looking after younger siblings.
My return to cycling at 32 yrs. after abandoning cycling when I was 20, was partially fuelled by these happy childhood and teen memories.
Cycling suits my natural introverted tendencies. But cycling also fits my occasional need to socialize and share cycling passion with others if I want: by riding non-competitively in small groups or in large mega charity cycling events. Or riding often with Jack or a good friend.
Sport as Springboard for Advocacy, Travel
Cycling also has been a springboard for me in advocacy work by encouraging cycling for health and transportation and supporting improved cycling infrastructure through the efforts of local cycling organizations, in cities where I’ve lived.
Cycling, like hiking, kayaking, rowing, snowshoeing or cross country skiing, have provided me opportunities to travel and enjoy local corners and far-flung foreign scenery from a completely unique perspective that cars cannot sometimes reach.
So all above motivators have kept me on the bike saddle, year after year, for the past 21 years.
Lifelong Dancing with Your Physical Activity Muse
I wonder whenever I hear of those who try all sorts of different sports and diets to lose weight and improve their fitness, but are failing in their efforts long term. Have they found the magic physical fitness bullet that fills both their personal physical and mental soul?
Have they found the sport that matches their personality? Or are they wasting unhappy energy latching onto a sport that is the current rage that everyone is practicing?Is it a team sport that a person can easily meld their social needs and schedules to play with others? Or is it a solo based performance sport that appeals to their introverted or solo-motivated tendencies? Is it a sport that has flexibility for a person to practice it happily solo or in groups?
By landing on a sport that you enjoy practicing, it becomes naturally integrated into the rhythms of your day, week and onward, for many years. Your choice of regular physical activity then, becomes not a chore, but a welcome break and necessary, like brushing your teeth.
Whether it’s gardening, lacrosse, Highland dancing or yoga, may you discover a physical activity, that lights the fuse of your motivation, inspiration and leads you to more related passions, friends and good health for life.
Chong, Jean. Blogging and Cycling: It’s Like a Drug. In One Cool Blogging Tips Blog. Nov. 11, 2011.
A Google search under keywords, sport and personality, will yield a plethora of scholarly journal articles on the relationship between choice of sport and personality.