Monday, March 23, 2009

Exercise Study

I'm taking part in an exercise study, starting tomorrow. It's actually based more on the psychology of exercise, and is questioning how imagery affects motivation to exercise.

Apparently, the participants are split into two groups. At the beginning of each week, we fill out a survey (mostly questions about our motivation to exercise under different circumstances, like low-energy, sickness, stressful times, etc.) and then we listen to a 5-10 minute recording. At this point I have no idea what the recording will say, but I'm guessing something along the lines of what the benefits of exercise are.

Each participant is required to exercise 3 times per week in the Health Sciences exercise room on campus. We wear a heart-rate monitor, and are given a minimum heart-rate we should be working at. The minimum increases every two weeks or so, and the study lasts for 8 weeks. We do an initial fit test at the beginning (I did mine last week - bah! Not so good!) and then again at the end of the 8 weeks. We are also required to fill out a survey 6 months after the study is complete, but I don't know if we also have to do another fit test then.

This study was of particular interest for me, because they are specifically targeting women between 22-50 who do not currently exercise regularly (three times a week for at least 20 minutes each session) but who want to begin exercising more frequently. That's definitely me to a 'T'. I usually hit the gym once a week, and might play soccer once, but, sadly, that's about the extent of it.

Though I'm helping a fellow PhD student with their project (which is awesome), I'm also in it for selfish reasons: I hope that I'm able to learn a bit about what motivates me to exercise, and I hope that exercising 3 times per week for 8 weeks will give me enough momentum to keep it up for much longer.

I intend to post updates - so keep an eye out!