Adolescence provides a significant opportunity to influence attitudes toward activity. It has been proposed that affective responses are the first link in the hypothesized exercise intensity-affect-adherence chain. The aim of this study was to explore young low-active adolescents’ affective responses to different exercise intensities using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Participants completed 15 min of exercise at four exercise intensities: three set in relation to the participants’ ventilatory threshold (above, at, and below) and one self-selected. Affective valence was measured before, during, and after exercise, and participants were interviewed about their responses. Patterns in affective responses in quantitative data support tenets of the dual-mode theory. Qualitative data were presented as four narrative stories, and dominant themes associated with affective responses were identified. Consideration of individual preferences in the prescription of exercise, prescribing exercise set below the ventilatory threshold, or encouraging adolescents to self-select exercise intensity could positively influence adolescents’ exercise experiences.
Kate Stych and Gaynor Parfitt
Leighton Jones, Jasmin C. Hutchinson, and Elizabeth M. Mullin
renewed awareness of the role that affective responses to exercise might have in determining longer term adherence ( Ekkekakis, 2017 ; Ekkekakis & Dafermos, 2012 ). This awareness has, in part, been heightened by a number of studies that have demonstrated a link between acute affective responses to
Kazuhiro Harada, Kouhei Masumoto, Ai Fukuzawa, Michiko Touyama, Koji Sato, Narihiko Kondo, and Shuichi Okada
activity behavior change. It is well known that a single session of physical activity can induce desirable affective states ( Ensari, Greenlee, Motl, & Petruzzello, 2015 ). Such affective responses to physical activity can promote long-term changes to physical activity behavior ( Rhodes & Kates, 2015
Stacey Alvarez-Alvarado, Graig M. Chow, Nicole T. Gabana, Robert C. Hickner, and Gershon Tenenbaum
), defining affect by the dimensions of affective valence (pleasure–displeasure) and perceived physiological activation. Ekkekakis ( 2003 ) proposed that affective responses to exercise are in constant interplay between the cognitive processes originating primarily from the prefrontal cortex (e
The relationships between efficacy cognitions and causal attributions for exercise progress, and their impact on affective responses, were examined in a sample of previously sedentary middle-aged individuals 10 weeks into an exercise program. Employing theoretical propositions put forth by Bandura (1986) and Weiner (1985), it was hypothesized that exercise efficacy would influence causal attributions and affective responses to exercise participation. Path analysis demonstrated that greater exercise frequency resulted in more internal, somewhat stable, and personally controllable attributions for perceived exercise progress. More efficacious subjects also attributed their progress to more personally controllable causes. All three causal dimensions were related to positive affect, and efficacy had significant direct and indirect effects on affect. The results are discussed with respect to the need to more closely examine the role affect might play in exercise over time, as opposed to single bouts of exercise. Furthermore, the necessity for studying complex interplays of cognitive determinants of exercise behavior is discussed.
Susan A. McDonald and Charles J. Hardy
This study examined the affective response pattern of severely injured athletes. Five athletes from an NCAA Division I university athletic program were followed within 24 hours of injury for 4 weeks. On two nonconsecutive days a week at the same time and place, the athletes completed the Profile of Mood States and indicated their perceived percent rehabilitation. In addition, at the first meeting the athletes were given the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale and a demographic data sheet. At the final meeting the athletes completed an open-ended questionnaire designed to explore affective, cognitive, and behavioral reflections about rehabilitation. ANOVA indicated that affect significantly changed (p<.05) across the 4 week period. Post hoc analyses indicated that this change fits a two-stage process: Stage 1, Times 1−2; Stage 2, Times 3−8, with the two stages being significantly different from each other. The correlation between perceived rehabilitation and total mood disturbance was r=−.69, p<.0001. Correlations for each affective measure and perceived rehabilitation indicated that affective patterns of the rehabilitating athlete were highly related to the perception of rehabilitation, with negative affect diminishing and positive affect increasing as perceived rehabilitation increased.
Margaret Schneider and Priel Schmalbach
Little information exists as to the exercise intensity that adolescents enjoy and whether identifiable subgroups of adolescents will choose higher-intensity exercise.
Healthy adolescents (N = 74; mean age = 11.09 years) completed a cardiorespiratory fitness test, a moderate-intensity exercise task, and an exercise task at an intensity that felt “good.” Heart rate (HR), work rate (WR), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed every 3 minutes.
During the “feels good” task, adolescents exercised at a HR recognized as beneficial for cardiovascular health (mean HR = 66% to 72% of HR at VO2peak). Adolescents who experienced a positive affective shift during the moderate-intensity task engaged in higher-intensity exercise during the feels-good task as compared with those whose affective response to moderate-intensity exercise was neutral or negative (76% of peak HR vs. 70% of peak HR, P < .01).There was no difference between groups in RPE.
Adolescents tend to select an exercise intensity associated with fitness benefits when afforded the opportunity to choose an intensity that feels good. An identified subgroup engaged in higher-intensity exercise without a commensurate perception of working harder. Encouraging adolescents to exercise at an intensity that feels good may increase future exercise without sacrificing fitness.
Gavin Tempest and Gaynor Parfitt
Imagery, as a cognitive strategy, can improve affective responses during moderate-intensity exercise. The effects of imagery at higher intensities of exercise have not been examined. Further, the effect of imagery use and activity in the frontal cortex during exercise is unknown. Using a crossover design (imagery and control), activity of the frontal cortex (reflected by changes in cerebral hemodynamics using near-infrared spectroscopy) and affective responses were measured during exercise at intensities 5% above the ventilatory threshold (VT) and the respiratory compensation point (RCP). Results indicated that imagery use influenced activity of the frontal cortex and was associated with a more positive affective response at intensities above VT, but not RCP to exhaustion (p < .05). These findings provide direct neurophysiological evidence of imagery use and activity in the frontal cortex during exercise at intensities above VT that positively impact affective responses.
David M. Williams, Shira Dunsiger, Jessica A. Emerson, Chad J. Gwaltney, Peter M. Monti, and Robert Miranda Jr.
Affective response to exercise may mediate the effects of self-paced exercise on exercise adherence. Fiftynine low-active (exercise <60 min/week), overweight (body mass index: 25.0–39.9) adults (ages 18–65) were randomly assigned to self-paced (but not to exceed 76% maximum heart rate) or prescribed moderate intensity exercise (64–76% maximum heart rate) in the context of otherwise identical 6-month print-based exercise promotion programs. Frequency and duration of exercise sessions and affective responses (good/bad) to exercise were assessed via ecological momentary assessment throughout the 6-month program. A regression-based mediation model was used to estimate (a) effects of experimental condition on affective response to exercise (path a = 0.20, SE = 0.28, f 2 = 0.02); (b) effects of affective response on duration/latency of the next exercise session (path b = 0.47, SE = 0.25, f 2 = 0.04); and (c) indirect effects of experimental condition on exercise outcomes via affective response (path ab = 0.11, SE = 0.06, f 2 = 0.10). Results provide modest preliminary support for a mediational pathway linking self-paced exercise, affective response, and exercise adherence.
Charlotte C. Benjamin, Alex Rowlands, and Gaynor Parfitt
Past studies have shown the patterning of affective responses during a graded exercise test (GXT) in adult and male adolescent populations, but none have explored the patterns in adolescent girls or younger children. This study explored the patterning of affective responses during a GXT in adolescents and younger children. Forty-nine children (21 male and 28 female) aged between 8–14 years (10.8 ± 1.8 years) completed a GXT. Ventilatory threshold (VT) was identified. At the end of each incremental step, participants reported affective valence. Results revealed that affective valence assessed by the Feeling Scale (FS) significantly declined from the onset of exercise until the point of VT in the younger children, but remained relatively stable in the adolescents. Exercise above the VT brought about significant declines in affective valence regardless of age or sex, but the decrease was significantly greater in adolescents. Results suggest it may be preferable to prescribe lower exercise intensities (below VT) for children, compared with adolescents, to ensure a positive affective response.