Watching a television show during aerobic exercise: Pilot findings suggest that bundling these behaviours below the ventilatory threshold enhances the exercise experience and influences exercise plans


This quasi-experimental pilot determined whether restricting television watching to treadmill walking below the ventilatory threshold (VT) improved individuals' affective valence, perceived activation, enjoyment and intention to bundle these behaviours by serving as an alluring distraction. Eleven inactive, young adults (21.18 + 1.47 years) performed a max stress test and two 40-minute exercise tests. Experimental group participants (n=4) watched the first episode of a television show between exercise tests and the next episode during the second exercise test. Affective variables and attentional focus were assessed before, during and after exercise tests, and intention to bundle television watching with treadmill walking was assessed after the second exercise test. Multivariate analyses revealed a large, non-significant intervention effect on participants' affective valence during cool-down [T(1,8)=8.838, p=0.021, ?p2=0.723] and a large, significant intervention effect on intention to bundle [T(8)=-2.336, p=0.048, ?p2=0.406]. Univariate analyses revealed medium-to-large, non-significant intervention effects on affective valence during endurance [T(1,7)=1.353, p=0.283, ?p2=0.0.162]; perceived activation before exercise [T(1,8)=4.357, p=0.070, ?p2=0.353], during warm-up [T(1,8)=1.823, p=0.2.14, ?p2=0.186] and cool-down [T(1,8)=3.222, p=0.110, ?p2=0.287], and after exercise [T(1,8)=1.231, p=0.299 ?p2=0.0133]; enjoyment after cool-down [T(1,8)=1.928, p=0.202, ?p2=0.194] and exercise [T(1,8)=1.678, p=0.231, ?p2=0.173]; and attentional focus during cool-down [T(1,8)=0.527, p=0.062, ?p2=0.099]. In conclusion, restricting television watching to treadmill walking below VT improved participants' exercise experience and made it a more attractive future behaviour, possibly by serving as an alluring distraction. Future research should address methodological issues and theoretical gaps, and investigate underlying mechanisms before examining the temptation bundle's long-term effects on affective responses to exercise and exercise adherence.

Acknowledgments: The Barbara Brown Commemorative Scholarship, Craig Hall, Alan Salamoni, Trish Tucker, Michelle Mottola, and the Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory.