In-task and post-task affective response to exercise: translating exercise intentions into behaviour

Br J Health Psychol. 2010 Feb;15(Pt 1):115-31. doi: 10.1348/135910709X433267. Epub 2009 Apr 25.


Objectives: To test whether affective response to an acute bout of exercise can predict regular voluntary exercise, and specifically whether a positive affective response helps translate intentions into behaviour.

Design: A prospective correlational design.

Methods: Participants (N=127) recruited from the community reported intentions to engage in voluntary exercise and frequency of participation in voluntary exercise both at baseline and at a 3-month follow-up. Self-reported positive affect, negative affect, tranquillity, and fatigue were assessed during a bout of moderate intensity exercise.

Results: Within subject slopes for increases in positive affect and decreases in fatigue during exercise, and increased tranquillity and decreased fatigue post-exercise were associated with more frequent participation in exercise at follow-up. Changes in negative affect did not predict exercise at follow-up; however, this was likely due to floor effects leading to lack of baseline variability in negative affect. Importantly, a positive affective response to exercise moderated the intention-behaviour relationship, such that those who responded to exercise more favourably exhibited stronger relationships between intentions and future exercise behaviour Conclusions: We conclude that exercise-related increases in positive affect and tranquillity and decreases in feelings of fatigue can aid in the successful translation of exercise intentions into behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Disclosure
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • United States
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult