Impact of Reading for Pleasure Versus School During Exercise on Affective State Responses

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel M. Day (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Based on the distraction hypothesis, an acute exercise session provides a time out from life stress and serves as an explanation for why exercise potentially improves affect. It is plausible that not all exercise settings provide a distraction from life stress. Enjoyable and attention absorbing exercise experiences may provide a stronger distraction and time out from daily stresses and worries than exercise that is less enjoyable or attention absorbing. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare reading for pleasure versus school on affective state responses, enjoyment, and attentional focus. Thirty six active college students (15 males, 21 females) completed two moderate intensity exercise sessions, one session per reading condition. Affective responses were measured pre, mid, post, and 60 minutes post each exercise session. Enjoyment and attentional focus were measured post exercise. Through a series of repeated measures ANOVAs, results showed pleasure reading resulted in more positive feelings during exercise whereas textbook reading resulted in participants feeling slightly worse during exercise compared to baseline. Both groups felt better post exercise; however the magnitude of change for affective valence and positive engagement was larger when reading for pleasure. Responses for activation, energy, revitalization, tension, tiredness and physical exhaustion improved over time and were similar between the two groups. No changes in calmness or tranquility were observed pre to post. Activation, calmness, tension, energy, positive engagement and revitalization responses decreased towards baseline levels 60 minutes post exercise with energy responses lower than baseline. However, affective valence continued to increase for the school reading group and was maintained for the pleasure reading group 60 minutes post exercise. Participants reported greater enjoyment and attentional focus when reading for pleasure versus school. Additionally, correlation analysis showed enjoyment and attentional focus were related to post exercise affective valence, arousal, energy, revitalization, and positive engagement with the correlations being in the moderate range. These findings support that reading for pleasure while exercising is more enjoyable and attention focusing resulting in more positive affective responses, thus reading for pleasure may provide a stronger distraction compared to reading material that is related to daily life stress.  

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010

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