, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 65-76
Date: 06 May 2010

Using Action Planning to Promote Exercise Behavior

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Abstract

Background

Action planning promotes exercise behavior and mediates intention–behavior relationships.

Purpose

The aim of this study is to provide correlational and experimental tests of action planning as mediator of intention–exercise behavior relationships controlling for Theory of Planned Behavior variables and past behavior.

Methods

In study 1 (N = 777), young adults completed questionnaires assessing Theory of Planned Behavior variables, past behavior, and planning in relation to exercise and 2 weeks later reported exercise behavior. In study 2 (N = 356), young adults were randomly allocated to complete one of two questionnaires and 2 weeks later reported exercise behavior. Both questionnaires contained similar measures to study 1 (Theory of Planned Behavior variables, past behavior in relation to exercise), but one also contained an exercise planning measure.

Results

Planning partially mediated intention–behavior relationships and intentions showed a moderated mediation effect: stronger intention–planning–behavior relationships when intentions were strong (study 1). Exercise behavior was higher in planning compared to no planning group, and this difference was greater when intentions were strong (study 2).

Conclusions

Action planning mediates intention–exercise behavior relationships, particularly when exercise intentions are strong. Interventions promoting exercise behavior should jointly target intentions and planning.