CPP Study Links Exercise Program Success to Personality-based Differences

MBTI® Types Favor Certain Workout Regimens, Instructors, Locations and More


Sunnyvale, Calif., March 29, 2018—CPP, Inc., the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment, has announced new research that shows that the effectiveness of someone’s exercise regime often depends on their personality type. The study, designed by CPP Senior Researcher Nancy Schaubhut, investigated how organizations can help their staff’s development through exercise. Research found that matching an individual’s personality type to an exercise plan can increase both its effectiveness and the person’s enjoyment of it.

According to study co-author John Hackston, Psychologist and Head of Thought Leadership at CPP, “Organizations can use these findings to help staff improve their fitness, with the goal of lower illness-related absences and increased employee satisfaction.” Among its findings, the study showed that:


The study looked at how more than 800 people from a range of industries across several countries approach exercise. It presents a number valuable findings for today’s employers, who have a vested interest in the health and wellness of their staff. Key findings from the research, presented recently by Hackston at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, showed that personality type influences people’s inclinations toward:

Exercising at a gym, outside or at home
While those who prefer Introversion are equally inclined to exercise either at a gym or at home, 63 percent of those who prefer Extraversion prefer to work out at a gym (vs. 37 percent who’d rather exercise at home). And while both those who prefer Sensing and those who prefer Intuition are more inclined toward outdoor workouts, the difference is wider among those with Intuition preferences, who are almost twice as likely prefer to exercise outdoors (67 percent) vs. indoors (33 percent).

Structure and repetition...or variety and spontaneity
When it comes to variety in their workout, those with preferences for Perceiving were more than ten percent more likely than those with preferences for Judging (78 percent vs. 66 percent) to prefer mixing it up over repetition. Those with Perceiving preferences were also 15 percent more likely than their Judging counterparts (77 percent vs. 61 percent) to prefer taking a diversity of routes when running, hiking or biking.

Choosing an instructor based on qualifications, or a personal relationship
When choosing a fitness instructor, those who prefer Thinking were about 12 percent more likely to make a decision based on qualifications/experience (vs. a personal relationship) than those who prefer Feeling (65 percent vs. 53 percent).

Socializing at the gym, or sticking to yourself
Not surprisingly, those who prefer Introversion were nearly 20 percent more likely to exercise alone than those who prefer Extraversion (who in fact tend to exercise more with others than alone, at 55 percent to 45 percent).

Similarly, when attending classes, those who prefer Introversion were 30 percent more likely to keep to themselves than those who prefer Extraversion (80 percent vs. 49 percent).

“For companies looking to improve the health of their employees, this research indicates that more successful wellness programs will likely be individualized,” said co-author Dr. Rich Thompson, Divisional Director of Research, CPP, Inc. “While individuals may feel like they should follow popular or more established formulas, they’re much more likely to succeed with an exercise plan that matches their personality type.”

Read more about the findings in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type & Exercise blog.


About CPP–The Myers-Briggs® Company
Unlock your organization's potential and solve your most challenging workplace issues with CPP–The Myers-Briggs® Company. Our solutions improve individual and team performance, addressing issues from communication to conflict management, and supporting leadership development, career decisions, selection, and retention. Perhaps that's why millions of organizations, large and small, partner with us, including the majority of Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government agencies, and training and development consultants.

For more than 50 years, we have provided world-renowned brands that include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), Strong Interest Inventory®, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI®), FIRO®, and California Psychological Inventory™ (CPI™) assessments. Contact us at www.cpp.com.

800.624.1765 : www.cpp.com : CPP—The Myers-Briggs® Company.


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CPP, Inc.
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Royal Caribbean International
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