Andersson, E. and Moss, T. P.
Imagery And implementation intention: A randomised controlled trial of interventions to increase exercise behaviour in the general population.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12 (2).
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2010.07.004
Multiple benefits of regular exercise are repeatedly cited in mass media and in the academic literature. In a recent publication by the British Department of Health (DH) published that recommended levels of exercise, at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type II diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer. Regular exercise may further benefit health through the positive effects on hypertension, body weight as well as mental and psychological health by reducing depression, anxiety and stress (Department of Health, 2004). In 2006 however, only 40 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women in the UK met the recommended levels of exercise (National Health Service Information Centre, 2008).
Habit, past behaviour, and implementation intentions
The notions of automised behaviour and behavioural patterns may explain one consistent predictor of exercise behaviour found in the literature, namely past behaviour. Bozeonelos and Bennett (1999) looked at the predictive power of theory of planned behaviour, other variables were added including past behaviour, personal norms (moral obligation, responsibility), role beliefs (what is perceived to be appropriate for the person’s status or situation), level of self-monitoring, and sex-role identity in relation to intention and behaviour. It was found that past behaviour was indeed the most predictive variable of exercise behaviour. Neither of the other variables significantly predicted exercise behaviour except exercise intention which was found to be a weak predictor of actual behaviour.
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