Behavioral Control of Exercise in Sedentary Adults: Studies 1 Through 6

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social support, praise, feedback during exercise, goal setting, distraction-based cognitive strategies, adherence to exercise program, healthy sedentary adults

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Conducted 6 experiments with 143 healthy sedentary adults who had been unsuccessful in starting or maintaining an exercise regimen to identify behavioral and cognitive procedures that would enhance Ss' adherence to a 3 day/wk exercise (walking/jogging) program. Procedures evaluated included feedback and praise during exercise, various goal-setting strategies, lottery reinforcement, cognitive strategies during the exercise, and relapse-prevention training. Class attendance, exercise program adherence, and fitness data were collected, and self-reported 3-mo follow-up data were also obtained. Results suggest the importance of social support, feedback, and praise during exercise; flexibility in exercise-goal setting; and distraction-based cognitive strategies. Findings are integrated and discussed in terms of the importance and difficulties of shaping and maintaining exercise behaviors.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v. 52, issue 5, p. 795-811