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.