Affective responses during exercise are often important determinants of exercise initiation and maintenance. Current physical activity may be one individual difference that is associated with the degree to which individuals have positive (or negative) affective experiences during exercise. The objective of this study was to explore physical and cognitive explanations of the relationship between current activity status (more versus less active) and affective response during a 30-minute bout of moderate-intensity exercise. Participants reported their current level of physical activity, exercise self-efficacy and affect during a 30-minute bout of moderate-intensity exercise. More active individuals experienced higher levels of positive affect and tranquillity and lower levels of negative affect and fatigue during exercise. Multivariate models for each affective state indicated separate processes through which physical activity may be associated with changes in affect during exercise. These models indicate that affect experienced during physical activity is related to the current activity level and these relationships can be partially explained by the physical and cognitive factors explored in this study. Recommendations for future research to elucidate whether positive affective response to physical activity improves as a function of becoming more active over time are discussed.
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