Can the Affective Response to Exercise Predict Future Motives and Physical Activity Behavior? A Systematic Review of Published Evidence

Ann Behav Med. 2015 Oct;49(5):715-31. doi: 10.1007/s12160-015-9704-5.


Background: Consistent with hedonic theories of behavior, the affective response to physical activity has been posited as an important determinant of future physical activity; yet, we are unaware of an overview of evidence regarding this relationship.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to review the published literature regarding whether the affective response to physical activity relates to future physical activity behavior and key motivational constructs.

Methods: A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was undertaken.

Results: Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. A positive change in the basic affective response during moderate intensity exercise was linked to future physical activity, but postexercise affect had a null relationship. Affective responses during and after exercise had a relatively negligible relationship with intention, mixed results for self-efficacy, and a reliable correlation with affective judgments about future physical activity.

Discussion: The findings support the basic premise of hedonic theory. Practical application studies with a focus on sustained behavioral interventions are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Motivation*
  • Self Efficacy