Choosing to exercise more: Small choices increase exercise engagement

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ObjectivesThe purpose of the study was to examine whether individuals' motivation to exercise could be increased by providing them with an incidental choice.DesignExperimental design with two groups.MethodTwo groups of participants were asked to perform four exercises (i.e., lunges, jumping jacks, bear crawls, medicine-ball throws). After a demonstration of each exercise, a choice group was given the opportunity to choose the order of exercises, while a control group performed them in a pre-determined order. Subsequently, all participants decided how many sets and repetitions of each exercise they wanted to complete.ResultsChoice group participants performed a significant greater number of total repetitions (sets × repetitions) of all exercises than did control group participants.ConclusionsThe finding suggests that individuals' need for autonomy can be supported by giving them small choices, which can positively affect exercise engagement.HighlightsWe investigate whether giving individuals an incidental choice will increase their motivation to exercise.Two groups of participants perform four different exercises, and one group is able to choose the order of exercises.The choice group completed a greater number of repetitions than the control group.The results provide evidence that seemingly minor choices can positively impact exercise engagement.

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