Planning Increases Physical Exercise Among low Active Young Adults in a Self-regulatory Intervention

  • B. Reyes Fern├índez
  • R. Schwarzer


Background: The study examined whether a self-regulatory intervention increases exercise levels via action planning. Planning strategies might be especially important in people with low levels of exercise in order to initiate with a new behaviour. Methods: a randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare an intervention on exercise with an active control condition in young adults (N = 486, mean age = 18.74, SD = 2.83). Exercise levels were measured at pre-test and post-test and action planning at post-test. To evaluate intervention effects and change mechanisms involved, repeated measures ANOVA and mediation analysis were conducted. Findings: Intervention had an effect on exercise (p < .05). When the overall sample was divided into participants with high and low levels of activity at T1, the effect remains only for the less active subsample (p < .05). Planning mediated the effect of the intervention on exercise. Discussion: Planning is a useful self-regulatory strategy for low active persons, who benefit from it when adopting a new behaviour. Initial levels of activity should be taken into account when designing self-regulatory interventions on exercise.
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