Thesis

The anxiolytic effects of observing aerobic exercise

A 2 (video condition) x 2 (imagination condition) between-subjects study was conducted to examine if observing others engage in an aerobic exercise, while imagining participating in the exercise, has anxiolytic properties. The video condition variable consisted of two levels: an exercise video and a non-exercise video. The imagination condition variable also consisted of two levels: imagination and no imagination. Participants’ experience with exercise and participants’ attitude towards exercise were also examined. I hypothesized that the group who watched the exercise video would score higher in mood and lower in stress than the non-exercise video group. The data did not support this hypothesis. There were no significant differences in mood and stress levels between the two groups. I also predicted a positive correlation between attitude towards exercise and mood, and a negative correlation between attitude towards exercise and stress after watching the exercise video. These hypotheses were partially supported. There was a significant positive correlation between attitude towards exercise and mood, and no significant correlation between attitude towards exercise and stress after watching the exercise video. Additionally, it was hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between regular exercise and mood, and a negative correlation between regular exercise and stress after watching the exercise video. These hypotheses were also partially supported. Results showed a significant positive correlation between days spent exercising per week and mood. There was also a significant positive correlation between minutes spent x exercising per day and stress levels. Lastly, I hypothesized that the group who imagined themselves exercising while watching the exercise video would score higher in mood and lower in stress compared to all other groups. This hypothesis was not supported. There was no significant interaction between the video condition and the imagination condition. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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