Attentional distraction during exercise in overweight and normal-weight boys

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Mar 13;12(3):3077-90. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120303077.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of attentional distraction on field running distance and activity intensity during an exercise session in normal-weight and overweight youngsters and to investigate potential mediators. Fifty-three 12-14 yr-old boys participated twice in a 12-min running test and a 20-min exercise session, once with attentional distraction (by listerning to music) and once without distraction (counterbalanced randomised controlled design). At the end of the endurance test running distance was recorded. During the exercise session activity intensity was assessed by accelerometers. After each experiment, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was estimated and seven questions were asked about how participants experienced the experiment. Both overweight and normal-weight boys ran further during the running test with music (p<0.05) and this effect was mediated by a decrease in feelings of annoyance. During the exercise session with music, both overweight and normal-weight boys exercised less at low and high intensity and more at moderate and very high intensity (p<0.01) and this effect was mediated by a decrease in RPE. We can conclude that attentional distraction has a positive effect on running distance on a field endurance test and on activity intensity during an exercise session through different mechanisms in both overweight and normal-weight boys.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Child
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Running / physiology
  • Running / psychology*