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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2013 December;53(6):701-12

Copyright © 2013 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Affective responses to self-selected and imposed walking in inactive women with high stress: a pilot study

Wardwell K. K. 1, Focht B. C. 1, Courtney Devries A. 2, O’connell A. A. 3, Buckworth J. 1

1 Health and Exercise Physical Activity and Educational Services The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 2 Department of Neuroscience Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 3 Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement, School of Educational Policy and Leadership, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA


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Aim: The primary purpose was to examine affective responses and future intentions in response to self-selected and imposed-intensity walking in inactive women with high levels of stress. The secondary purpose was to examine potential psychobiological variables (cortisol responses and self-efficacy) associated with changes in affective states.
Methods: Nineteen participants (age=23.58±5.30 yr) completed three trials of treadmill walking at self-selected intensity, 10% above and 10% below relative self-selected intensity. Walking duration was determined to expend 150 kcal. Affective responses and salivary cortisol were measured prior to, during, and following walking sessions. Self-efficacy was also measured during and post-walking. Future intention was measured post walking.
Results: Affect and self-efficacy improved significantly over time at all walking intensity conditions. Moreover, selected affect variables were improved at self-selected but not at imposed intensity during and post walking. No significant associations were observed between affect, self-efficacy and cortisol levels. However, affect and self-efficacy did significantly predict future intentions.
Conclusion: Treadmill walking at intensities proximal to and lower than ventilatory threshold were associated with positive affective responses during and after walking in women with high levels of stress. Self-selected intensity may be effective for eliciting more favorable experiences during and following acute bouts of exercise, and promote future intentions for exercise. Findings provide partial support for self-efficacy during exercise as a potential mechanism for positive affective responses, especially at self-selected intensity.

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buckworth.1@osu.edu