Choosing to exercise more: Small choices increase exercise engagement

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Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of the study was to examine whether individuals' motivation to exercise could be increased by providing them with an incidental choice.

Design

Experimental design with two groups.

Method

Two 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.

Results

Choice group participants performed a significant greater number of total repetitions (sets × repetitions) of all exercises than did control group participants.

Conclusions

The finding suggests that individuals' need for autonomy can be supported by giving them small choices, which can positively affect exercise engagement.

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