Affect-regulated exercise intensity: Does training at an intensity that feels ‘good’ improve physical health?



      Affect-regulated exercise to feel ‘good’ can be used to control exercise intensity amongst both active and sedentary individuals and should support exercise adherence. It is not known, however, whether affect-regulated exercise training can lead to physical health gains. The aim of this study was to examine if affect-regulated exercise to feel ‘good’ leads to improved fitness over the course of an 8-week training programme.


      A repeated measures design (pretest–posttest) with independent groups (training and control).


      20 sedentary females completed a submaximal graded exercise test and were then allocated to either a training group or control group. The training group completed two supervised sessions and one unsupervised session per week for 8 weeks. Exercise intensity was affect-regulated to feel ‘good’. Following the 8 weeks of training, both groups completed a second submaximal graded exercise test.


      Repeated measures analyses of variance indicated a significant increase in the time to reach ventilatory threshold in the training group (318 ± 23.7 s) compared to control (248 ± 16.9 s). Overall compliance to training was high (>92%). Participants in the training group exercised at intensities that would be classified as being in the lower range of the recommended guidelines (∼50% V ˙ O 2 max) for cardiovascular health.


      Affect-regulated exercise to feel ‘good’ can be used in a training programme to regulate exercise intensity. This approach led to a 19% increase in time to reach ventilatory threshold, which is indicative of improved fitness.


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