Objective: Physical inactivity contributes to as many as 250,000 premature deaths per year (R. R. Pate et al., 1995). The authors' objective was to test a transdisciplinary model of the ways in which genetic variants, physiological factors, and psychological factors are thought to influence exercise with 64 healthy, regular exercisers.
Design: In a within-subjects design, psychological and physiological responses to exercise were compared with responses to a sedentary activity.
Main outcome measures: The authors measured affective state, perceived exertion, heart rate, and temperature change in response to moderate exercise versus sedentary activity. They also quantified genotypes on a single nucleotide polymorphism in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene.
Results and conclusions: The data show a relation between increases in positive affective states and acute exercise behavior, as opposed to a sedentary control. The BDNF gene moderated the effect of exercise on mood, heart rate, and perceived exertion. Physiological factors were, in turn, related to mood response, and mood response was a significant correlate of motivation to exercise in the future and of current exercise behavior. The model has potential as a framework for the basic study of the genetic, physiological, and psychological processes involved with voluntary exercise and as a tool for the applied examination of tailored exercise interventions and their efficacy for different subsets of individuals.