A Comparison of Post-Exercise Mood Enhancement Across Common Exercise Distraction Activities

Russell, William; Pritschet, Brian; Frost, Beth; Emmett, John; Pelley, T. J.; Black, Judy; Owen, Jill
December 2003
Journal of Sport Behavior;Dec2003, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p368
Academic Journal
Mood enhancement from exercise may occur due to distraction as proposed by the "time-out" hypothesis (Berger & Motl, 2000). This study examined whether exercise under conditions of distraction (television watching, reading) differed significantly from exercise controls. Fifty-three college age students were randomly assigned to; exercise while reading, exercise while watching television, or exercise control conditions. Participants completed a pre-exercise POMS after 5 minutes quiet rest, rode an electronically-braked cycle ergometer for 25 minutes at 60-75% of individual heart rate reserve (HRR), and completed a post-exercise POMS after 5 minutes post-exercise quiet rest. Ratings of perceived exertion (Borg, 1985) were collected every 5 minutes. A dependent t-test indicated that exercise improved mood from pre to post exercise (t(53) = 2.71, p <.001). Results of a one-way MANOVA comparing conditions on POMS subscale change scores indicated a nonsignificant overall exercise condition effect. A one-way MANCOVA, using exercise conditions as independent variables and pre-exercise POMS subscale scores as covariates was also nonsignificant. Results of a 3 x 5 (exercise condition x RPE assessment) repeated measures ANOVA indicated a nonsignificant interaction and main effect for exercise. The findings indicate that it may be the enjoyable characteristics of distraction and not distraction, per se, that are important in the exercise mood-enhancement relationship. It was concluded that enjoyment may mediate acute mood changes associated with aerobic exercise and that distraction activity during exercise should contain enjoyable, self-motivating content.



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