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Enjoyment during Exercise Mediates the Effects of an Intervention on Exercise Adherence

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Regular participation in physical activity is associated with a variety of health benefits and a reduction in diverse chronic diseases. However, empirical studies have shown that about 50% of the participants in exercise programs drop out during the first six months. One strategy to increase regular physical activity would be to promote positive feelings during exercise. The purposes of this experimental study were a) to investigate whether the affective states can be influenced by specific interventions and b) to link these changes in affective states to exercise adherence. The trainers of the experimental group were instructed to promote positive emotions (e.g. pleasure and fun) during exercise according to specific principles. The trainers of the control group were instructed to comply with the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. 24 participants in the experimental group and 17 participants in the control group were recruited for this study. The results of the repeated measures analyses of variance provide a significant time by group interaction suggesting that participants of the intervention group increased their affective ratings significantly compared to the control group. The results of the hierarchical regression analyses support the hypothesis that the changes in affective ratings related to exercise mediated the effects of intervention on physical activity adherence. This study provides evidence that affec-tive states during exercise can be systematically influenced to increase physical activity adherence. Principles on how to increase positive affective judgments related to exercising can be drawn from this study and eventually be used in order to promote regular physical activity among a large part of the population.
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... Exercise enjoyment during and after exercise could be a mediating factor for exercise adherence (Raedeke, 2007;Ekkekakis, 2009;Jekauc, 2015), as greater enjoyment increases the likelihood of performing regular exercise (Salmon et al., 2003;Lewis et al., 2016). Exercise enjoyment after exercise, measured with the physical activity enjoyment scale (PACES) questionnaire (Kendzierski and DeCarlo, 1991), is generally reported to be higher following high intensity interval exercise compared with moderate intensity continuous exercise (Oliveira et al., 2018;Niven et al., 2020;Tavares et al., 2021). ...
... While enjoyment is a specific feeling evaluated by cognition, affective responses are reflexive responses for the direction of emotion (pleasure/displeasure) (Ekkekakis, 2013), and may also mediate exercise adherence (Rhodes and Kates, 2015). The two concepts are distinctively separate, but also closely related, where higher exercise enjoyment can promote positive affect and vice versa (Raedeke, 2007;Jekauc, 2015). The affective responses to exercise seem influenced by exercise intensity, where higher intensities increase displeasure (i.e., negative affect) (Ekkekakis and Petruzzello, 1999;Welch et al., 2007), at least when exceeding physiological markers of increased relative contribution of anaerobic metabolism (Ekkekakis et al., 2011). ...
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Introduction: Exercise at high intensity may cause lower affective responses toward exercise compared with moderate intensity exercise. We aimed to elucidate affective valence and enjoyment in high-and moderate-high interval exercise. Methods: Twenty recreationally active participants (9 females, 11 males, age range: 20-51 years) underwent three different treadmill running exercise sessions per week over a 3-week period, in randomized order; (1) CE70: 45 min continuous exercise at 70% of heart rate maximum (HR max), (2) INT80: 4 × 4 min intervals at 80% of HR max , (3) INT90: 4 × 4 min intervals at 90% of HR max. Pre-tests included graded submaximal steady state intensities and a test to exhaustion for determining peak oxygen uptake and HR max. Affective valence (pleasure/displeasure) was measured before, during and after the sessions using the Feeling Scale (FS). Enjoyment was assessed before and after the sessions applying the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) and during the sessions using the Exercise Enjoyment Scale (EES). Results: The participants felt lower pleasure (between-sessions effect: p = 0.02, p η 2 : 0.13) during INT90 sessions (FS: 1.08, 95% CI: 0.35-1.92) compared with INT80 (FS: 2.35, 95% CI: 1.62-3.08, p = 0.052) and CE70 sessions (FS: 2.45, 95% CI: 1.72-3.18, p = 0.03), with no differences between INT80 and CE70 sessions (p = 1.00). There were higher enjoyment after INT80 sessions (PACES: 101.5, 95% CI: 95.7-107.3) versus CE70 sessions (PACES: 91.3 95% CI: 85.5-97.1, p = 0.046), and no differences between INT90 (PACES: 98.2, 95% CI: 92.4-103.4) and CE70 (p = 0.29) or INT80 (p = 1.00). For enjoyment during exercise, CE70 were perceived more enjoyable, and INT80 and INT90 less enjoyable in week 2 (EES: week x session: p = 0.01, p η 2 : 0.11; CE70: 4.3, 95% CI: 3.6-4.9, INT80: 4.6, 95% CI: 3.9-5.2, INT90: 4.0, 95% CI: 3.4-4.7) and 3 (EES: CE70: 4.2, 95% CI: 3.7-4.8, INT80: 4.8, 95% CI: 4.2-5.3, INT90: 4.3, 95% CI: 3.8-4.9) than in week 1 (EES: CE70: 3.5, 95% CI: 3.0-4.0, INT80: 5.0, 95% CI: 4.5-5.5, INT90: 4.5, 95% CI: 4.0-5.0). Conclusion: The negative affective consequences associated with high intensity interval exercise can be alleviated by keeping the intensity at or around 80% of HR max while preserving the beneficial enjoyment responses associated with interval exercise.
... Enjoyment and interest seem determinant for ensuring long-term engagement (Argent et al., 2018) and adherence to exercise, leading ultimately to better health (Jekauc, 2015;Lakicevic et al., 2020). For example, performing similar physical activities in groups or virtual reality environments (e.g., exergaming approach) can create a distraction from negative thoughts related to exercise and encourage participation (Molina et al., 2014). ...
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Universal exercise recommendations for adults neglect individual preferences, changing constraints, and their potential impact on associated health benefits. A recent proposal suggests replacing the standardized World Health Organisation (WHO) exercise recommendations for healthy adults by co-designed interventions where individuals participate actively in the decisions about the selected physical activities and the effort regulation. This study contrasts the effects on mental health and interoceptive awareness of a co-designed and co-adapted exercise intervention with an exercise program based on the WHO recommendations for healthy adults. Twenty healthy adults (10 men and 10 women, 40–55 y.o.) participated voluntarily in the research. They were randomly assigned to a co-designed exercise intervention (CoD group) and a prescribed exercise program (WHO group). Supervised online by specialized personal trainers, both programs lasted 9 weeks and were equivalent in volume and intensity. The effects of the exercise intervention were tested through personal interviews, questionnaires (DASS-21 and MAIA) and a cardiorespiratory exercise test. Intragroup differences (pre-post) were assessed using the Mann-Whitney Wilcoxon test and intergroup differences through Student’s t-tests. Effect sizes were calculated through Cohen’s d. Interviews were analyzed through thematic analysis. Eleven participants completed the intervention (CoD = 8, WHO = 5). Both groups improved, but non significantly, their cardiorespiratory testing results, and no differences were found between them post-intervention. Mental health was only enhanced in the CoD group (p < 0.001), and interoceptive awareness improved in seven of the eight scales in the CoD group (p < 0.001) and only in 3 scales in the WHO group (p < 0.01). In conclusion, the co-designed intervention was more effective for developing mental health, interoceptive awareness, autonomy, and exercise self-regulation than the WHO-based exercise program.
... Therefore, exercise programs should be adjusted to the individual's preference in order to lead to increased levels of adherence. Enjoyment is considered an important physical activity determinant, since it reflects feelings of pleasure, liking and satisfaction and has shown positive associations with intention, increased attendance and adherence to the exercise program [52,54]. According to our results, participants reported higher enjoyment during IVR exercise compared to regular biking. ...
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Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a real or imaginary three-dimensional environment that has entered our lives, particularly for gaming. Lately, it has been permeating into many aspects of our everyday life, such as exercise. It is important to ascertain whether exercise in an immersive virtual reality environment can be accepted from employees and lead to positive outcomes for them. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the acceptance, future adoption, interest/enjoyment and usability of an immersive virtual reality system for exercise training by office workers during breaks within their working hours. A total of 40 female employees participated in the study with a mean age of 42.58 years (SD 10.77). Participants were requested to complete two sequential 15-min dual task cycling sessions corresponding to two experimental conditions. The first, condition A, involved cycling in a virtual environment, wearing a virtual reality head mounted display, and responding to cognitive tasks by answering multiple choice questions-on a screen, using a joystick. The second, condition B, involved cycling on a static bicycle and simultaneously responding to cognitive tasks by answering multiple choice questions in a real environment. After completion of the two conditions, participants responded to a series of scales regarding each of the experimental conditions and to a semi-structured interview. The results showed that participants noted a significant preference for the immersive virtual reality exercise, condition A, compared to condition B (bike only); and their acceptance, interest/enjoyment, usability and intention for future use were high. The qualitative data showed increased intention for future use, feelings of control and presence and most of the participants did not encounter any difficulties or require extra help to understand the immersive virtual reality system. Overall, exercising during working hours with an immersive virtual reality exercise system was well perceived by office workers and applicable. However, the effects of the immersive virtual reality training system on physical and mental health and the employees' adherence to the exercise program should be tested with a longer intervention program.
... For example, exercise enjoyment was the strongest predictor of weekly participation in an 8-week exercise program. The intervention promoted enjoyment through participant input and decision making about exercise [4]. Moreover, physical activity enjoyment and self-worth were central factors in explaining long-term exercise adherence among women [5]. ...
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Self-selected workloads are shown to be more enjoyable than researcher-selected workloads. In addition, it is unclear if sedentary adults find aerobic interval or continuous exercise more pleasant. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to determine the effects of two acute bouts (interval vs. continuous) of self-selected moderate-intensity treadmill exercises on perceived enjoyment and self-efficacy towards exercise in a sedentary cohort. Methods: Sixteen sedentary adults completed two 30 min bouts of moderate-intensity treadmill activity, one interval and one continuous. Participants blindly (could not see speed, grade, and heart rate) selected their own treadmill workload with guidance from the Borg RPE 6–20 scale. Post-exercise self-efficacy and perceived enjoyment were assessed using the Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale and the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale, respectively. Exercise workloads using treadmill speed and grade and exercise heart rate were compared between trials. Results: No significant differences were found between conditions for self-selected workloads (p = 0.62), self-efficacy (p = 0.58), perceived enjoyment (p = 0.41), and heart rate (p = 0.12). Discussion: Sedentary individuals reported no difference in self-efficacy or perceived exercise enjoyment. Participants were, however, adequate in self-selecting their own intensities with RPE guidance as there were no differences in the workloads across conditions. These results suggest that when able to self-select moderate-intensity exercise workloads, sedentary individuals equally enjoy both interval and continuous exercise.
... Enjoyment is an important factor of future exercise participation. 53 The mean PACES score in our study is comparable with previously reported values during acute highintensity interval exercise with bouts lasting 30 to 120 s. 19,24 The current study demonstrated that the HIIT60 group experienced less positive in-task affect but similar post-exercise enjoyment compared to HIIT10. In addition, the enjoyment response to the two HIIT regimes remained high and constant during training, despite the increase J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f in external load. ...
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Objective This study compared hematologic, metabolic and antioxidant responses between three high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) trials of different bout duration and a continuous exercise trial (CON), all with equal average intensity, total work, and duration. Methods Eleven healthy young males performed four trials involving 20 min of cycling, either continuously (49% of power at VO2max, PPO), or intermittently with 48 10-s bouts (HIIE10), 16 30-s bouts (HIIE30) or 8 60-s bouts (HIIE60) at 100% PPO, with a 1:1.5 work-to-recovery ratio at 15% PPO. Venous blood was obtained before, immediately after, and 1 h post-exercise to evaluate hematologic, metabolic and antioxidant responses. Blood lactate concentration was measured in capillary blood during exercise, while urine lactate was measured before and 1 h post-exercise. Results Post-exercise leukocyte count (mean ± SD; 9.7 ± 2.8 kμL⁻¹), uric acid concentration (0.35 ± 0.10 mmolL⁻¹), glucose concentration (6.56 ± 1.44 mmolL⁻¹), and plasma volume change (−13.5 ± 4.4%) were greater in HIIE60 compared to all other trials (p < 0.05). One-hour post-exercise, lymphocytes decreased below pre-exercise values in all HIIE trials, and uric acid increased in the HIIE60 trial (p < 0.05). Urine lactate concentration 1 h post-exercise increased compared to pre-exercise only in HIIE60 (19-fold, p < 0.001), and this was related with the higher blood lactate concentration during exercise in that trial. Conclusions These findings highlight the importance of bout duration, given that shorter bouts of HIIE (30 s or 10 s) induce lower blood cell perturbations, metabolic stress, and antioxidant responses compared to the commonly used 1-min bouts, despite equal total work, duration, and work-to-recovery ratio.
... Enjoyment is an important factor of future exercise participation. 53 The mean PACES score in our study is comparable with previously reported values during acute high-intensity interval exercise with bouts lasting 30e120 s. 19,24 The current study demonstrated that the HIIT60 group experienced less positive intask affect but similar post-exercise enjoyment compared to HIIT10. In addition, the enjoyment response to the two HIIT regimes remained high and constant during training, despite the increase in external load. ...
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Objectives This study compared physiological, perceptual, and affective responses to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) between two work-matched programs with different bout durations in obese males. Methods Sixteen low-to-moderately active obese men completed an eight-week cycling program of supervised HIIT (3 days/week) using either short bouts [48 × 10 s at 100% of peak power output (PPO) with 15 s of recovery (HIIT10)] or long bouts [8 × 60 s at 100% PPO with 90 s of recovery (HIIT60)]. Workload was progressively adjusted, to maintain high intensity (100% PPO), throughout training. Blood lactate (BLa), heart rate (HR), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and feeling scale ratings (pleasure/displeasure) were measured in each HIIT session. Results Average HR decreased in the last 2 weeks of training in both groups by 2.2 ± 1.8% of peak HR (p < 0.001). Training resulted in a reduction in BLa during exercise by 28 ± 19% (p < 0.001) from the 10th min onward only in HIIT10. Similarly, during the last weeks of training, RPE decreased (by 1.0 ± 1.1 units, p < 0.05) and feeling scale ratings were improved only in HIIT10, while RPE remained unchanged and feeling scale ratings deteriorated in HIIT60 (from 3.0 ± 1.1 to 2.1 ± 0.9 units, p < 0.001). No differences in post-exercise enjoyment were found. Conclusion Both HIIT formats induced similar HR adaptations, but improvement of BLa, perceptual and affective responses occurred only when bout duration was shorter. Our findings suggest that, in low-to-moderately active obese men, HIIT may be more effective in improving metabolic, perceptual, and affective responses when shorter, rather than longer, bouts of exercise are used.
... A significant proportion of the participants (10 participants of 25 in total) were unable to complete the intervention due to incompatibility with work duties at the hospital (Pérez-Bilbao et al. 2021). One of the most effective approaches to increase exercise adherence (reducing early abandonment) is the achievement of positive mood and high enjoyment and satisfaction levels during physical activity participation (Jekauc 2015). Our results are in line with earlier studies that reported high enjoyment and satisfaction levels following different exercise modalities. ...
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Purpose The demanding and exhausting working hours, as well as the bad and unsuitable working conditions that prevail in several hospitals, affect employees' physical and mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a daily 6-week supervised workplace exercise program on health indices, functional capacity, overall fitness, subjective vitality, and life satisfaction in health professionals. Methods A randomized controlled study was used. 50 health professionals (40–55 years), working in a hospital environment, were divided into two groups: exercise (EG) and control group (CG). EG performed a 6-week supervised concurrent chair-based exercise program (stretching, strength, balance exercises, aerobic dance; 5 days/week, 30–40 min/day, 2 workouts/day lasted 15–20 min) in the hospital. Health indices (body composition, blood pressure, respiratory function), functional capacity (flexibility, balance), physical fitness (strength, cardiorespiratory fitness), subjective vitality, and life satisfaction were measured before and after the completion of the program. Additionally, after the completion of the program, EG participants’ enjoyment was assessed. Results EG significantly increased (p < 0.001) lean body mass and respiratory function (range of mean increase 3.5–4.5%, depending on the variable), functional capacity (range of mean increase 18–40%, depending on the variable), lower and upper libs maximal strength (range of mean increase 10–25%, depending on the variable), subjective vitality (41.3%) and life satisfaction (21.5%); while significantly decreased (p < 0.001) heart rate during submaximal test (− 14%), body fat and blood pressure (range of mean decrease − 3.5% to − 5.5%, depending on the variable). In CG, all the above variables did not change. Furthermore, a great percentage of employees (95%) reported high levels of enjoyment. Conclusion A workplace exercise program may be safely used for the promotion of employees' physical and mental health.
... Indeed, making tasks seem fun and easy could be a way to motivate changes in learning and behavior (Devereux-Fitzgerald et al., 2016;Lucardie, 2014). Particularly in the context of motivating people to engage in a physical activity, emphasizing the fun and easiness of a physical activity has been shown to motivate participation and encourage long-term maintenance (Jekauc, 2015;Scioli-Salter et al., 2014). External attributions, especially perceived task easiness and enjoyment, may therefore need to be considered more seriously in theorizing message effects on motivating healthy behaviors. ...
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Success stories are often used to promote health behaviors. This study examined how different features of others’ success stories about achieving an exercise goal influence observers’ intentions to exercise. The specific factors examined were success stories’ model similarity (similar vs. underdog model) and success attribution type (internal vs. external attribution message) on individuals’ expectations of their success and intentions to exercise. The results of an online experiment (N = 282) showed that success stories of similar models led to greater success expectancy than those of underdog models through the increased perception of model similarity. Further, success stories focusing on external—as opposed to internal—attribution resulted in greater success expectancy through increased external attribution of models’ success. Success expectancy then increased intention to exercise. This study concludes by discussing the theoretical implications for social cognitive theory and attribution theory as well as practical implications for designing health promotion messages.
... PA and exercise are not interesting and perceived as difficult and tiring make it difficult for children to take action. If children can perceive PA as fun and enjoyable, they will tend to participate more in PA (Fogel et al., 2010;Jekauc, 2015;Schneider & Kwan, 2013). Particularly, some negative experiences of female students in the transition phase from childhood to adolescence in PE class cause them to have negative attitudes towards PE (Cairney et al., 2012). ...
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Growing studies show that exergames (EG) which can combine physical activity (PA) and games is an effective educational tool in physical education (PE). The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effect of dance-based EG on the attitude of 8th grade female students towards PE.The research group consists of 15 female students who are educated in the 8th grade of secondary education in the public school of Bursa province. Participants performed dance-based EG for 80 minutes (3 sets of 20 minutes sessions, 10 minutes rest between sessions), 3 days a week for 8 weeks. Music and dance content were changed after each 20-minute game. Participants answered the Physical Education and Sports Attitude Scale (PESAS) before the first exergame session and at the end of 8 weeks.Shapiro-Wilk and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests were used to determine whether the variables are normally distributed. Mann-Whitney U test was used for pairwise comparisons, Kruskal-Wallis Analysis of Variance was used for multiple comparisons. The relationships between the variables were examined with the Spearman-correlation coefficient.A statistically significant difference was found between the participants’ PESAS pre-test and post-test scores (p = 0.001). Based on the results of the study it can be concluded that dance-based EG is useful for developing positive attitudes towards PE among female students.
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The evidence collected in the area of physical education indicates the need to continue to delve into the relationships and models that satisfy the basic psychological needs of the students and their consequences, in order to promote a high rate of physical activity. The aim of this study was to test the relationship between autonomy support, basic psychological needs and self-determined motivation with respect to enjoyment, intention towards practice and habitual physical activity. A sample of 717 students, aged between 13 and 19 years old was used. A longitudinal design was carried out with two measurement time points. The results indicated positive relationships for all model variables between the two measurement times. The results obtained are discussed with respect to the use of an interpersonal style to support autonomy in the academic context of physical education classes for the promotion of greater commitment and adherence to physical activity.
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