Concurrent management of exercise with other valued life goals: Comparison of frequent and less frequent exercisers

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Objectives:Exercise does not occur in isolation. Rather, individuals have many non-exercise life goals that must be concurrently managed with exercise pursuits. The main study objective was to examine perceptual differences between more and less frequent exercisers with respect to value of their exercise and non-exercise goals, concurrent self-regulatory efficacy, persistence, and perceived difficulty of managing concurrent goals.Methods:Valued non-exercise and exercise goals, physical activity, concurrent self-regulatory efficacy, persistence, and perceived management of concurrent goals were assessed in a sample of 336 university students (mean age = 24.86 years, ±8.7, 66% women). Participants were dichotomized as ‘frequent’ or ‘less frequent’ exercisers depending on whether their physical activity was consistent or not with ACSM guidelines (Haskell et al., 2007).Results:Frequent exercisers had significantly higher levels of self-regulatory efficacy to manage concurrent, highly valued goals, greater persistence to achieve both types of goals, and perceived the pursuit of concurrent goals more positively than less frequent exercisers. No differences were found between frequent and less frequent exercisers on time spent or value of non-exercise goals, however more frequent exercisers reported valuing and spending more time on exercise goals as compared to their less frequent counterparts.Conclusions:The present study offers insight into the thought processes used to exercise frequently when concurrently pursuing other valued life goals. Future research in the area of concurrent management of exercise with non-exercise goals should further explore the prospective utility of concurrent self-regulatory efficacy and other social cognitions housed within validated theories to predict exercise behaviour.

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