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Exercising with an iPod, Friend, or Neither: Which is Better for Psychological Benefits?

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Objective : To examine the role of music and social contact on exercise benefits.

Methods : Two hundred twenty-nine (n229) students were randomly assigned to one of 6 conditions: biking alone with iPod or friend in a laboratory, walking alone with iPod or friend outdoors, or biking or walking alone in control conditions. All participants completed 20 minutes of exercise at 70 of their maximum target heart rate.

Results : Exercising in control conditions indoors resulted in a more relaxed and calm response. Exercising outdoors was more enjoyable and resulted in less tension and stress.

Conclusions : Exercise environment impacts psychological benefits of exercise.
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Keywords: exercise; mood; music; social contact; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1 Professor, Department of Psychology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA.

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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