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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 14;11(12):e0168534. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168534. eCollection 2016.

Enjoyment for High-Intensity Interval Exercise Increases during the First Six Weeks of Training: Implications for Promoting Exercise Adherence in Sedentary Adults.

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Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Psychology, Centre for Neuroscience, Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.


This is the first study to show that enjoyment for high-intensity interval exercise increases with chronic training. Prior acute studies typically report high-intensity interval training (HIT) as being more enjoyable than moderate continuous training (MCT) unless the high-intensity intervals are too strenuous or difficult to complete. It follows that exercise competency may be a critical factor contributing to the enjoyment of HIT, and therefore building competency through chronic training may be one way to increase its enjoyment. To test this, we randomly assigned sedentary young adults to six weeks of HIT or MCT, and tracked changes in their enjoyment for the exercise. Enjoyment for HIT increased with training whereas enjoyment for MCT remained constant and lower. Changes in exercise enjoyment were predicted by increases in workload, suggesting that strength adaptions may be important for promoting exercise enjoyment. The results point to HIT as a promising protocol for promoting exercise enjoyment and adherence in sedentary young adults.

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