Application of the limited strength model of self-regulation to understanding exercise effort, planning and adherence
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The limited strength model posits that self-regulatory strength is a finite, renewable resource that is drained when people attempt to regulate their emotions, thoughts or behaviours. The purpose of this study was to determine whether self-regulatory depletion can explain lapses in exercise effort, planning and adherence. In a lab-based experiment, participants exposed to a self-regulatory depletion manipulation generated lower levels of work during a 10 min bicycling task, and planned to exert less effort during an upcoming exercise bout, compared with control participants. The magnitude of reduction in planned exercise effort predicted exercise adherence over a subsequent 8-week period. Together, these results suggest that self-regulatory depletion can influence exercise effort, planning and decision-making and that the depletion of self-regulatory resources can explain episodes of exercise non-adherence both in the lab and in everyday life.
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