The exercise and affect relationship: evidence for the dual-mode model and a modified opponent process theory

J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2010 Oct;32(5):711-30. doi: 10.1123/jsep.32.5.711.


This study examined the relationship between exertion level and affect using the framework of opponent-process theory and the dual-mode model, with the Activation-Deactivation Adjective Checklist and the State Anxiety Inventory among 14 active and 14 sedentary participants doing 20 min of treadmill exercise at speeds of 5% below, 5% above, and at lactate threshold (LT). We found a significant effect of time, condition, Time × Condition, and Time × Group, but no group, Group × Condition, or Time × Group × Condition effects, such that the 5% above LT condition produced a worsening of affect in-task compared with all other conditions whereas, across conditions, participants experienced in-task increases in energy and tension, and in-task decreases in tiredness and calmness relative to baseline. Posttask, participants experienced mood improvement (decreased tension, anxiety, and increased calmness) across conditions, with a 30-min delay in the above LT condition. These results partially support the dual-mode model and a modified opponent-process theory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Exercise Test / psychology
  • Exercise Test / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult