The effects of aerobic fitness on psychological and behavioral variables are currently receiving increased attention. However, the results of past research in these areas are equivocal, mainly due to differences in the methods used to quantify aerobic fitness and the failure to address issues concerning adaptation responses to aerobic training. It is suggested that direct assessment of V02max and estimation of lactate threshold are currently the most suitable measures of aerobic power and adaptation responses to aerobic exercise. To better understand how aerobic fitness affects psychological variables, it is also necessary to consider genetic influences and level and mode of adaptation to aerobic training. It is suggested that there should be more focus on examining underlying mechanisms common to both aerobic fitness and the phenomenon of interest. This focus should integrate multiple adaptation patterns and physiological and psychological responses rather than measure solitary parameters.
Stephen H. Boutcher is with the Department of Physical Education, 205 Memorial Gymnasium, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.