Current Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 108–114 | Cite as

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Implementation Intentions Increase Exercise Enjoyment and Long-Term Exercise Behavior Among Low-Active Women

  • Elena IvanovaEmail author
  • Noa Yaakoba-Zohar
  • Dennis Jensen
  • Jamie Cassoff
  • Bärbel Knäuper


The current study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for promoting exercise behavior in comparison with planning in the form of implementation intentions (forming situational cues and action plans as to when, where, and how to incorporate exercise). We expected both interventions to increase exercise behavior (assessed using the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire; Godin and Shephard 1985) from baseline to 6-months post-intervention, but expected only ACT to also increase exercise enjoyment (assessed using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale; Kendzierski and DeCarlo 1991). A total of 32 women, randomized to receive a single session of either ACT training or instructions to form implementation intentions for exercise activities, took part in this study. The participants were contacted by email 6-months following the intervention to determine the amount of self-reported exercise. As expected, exercise amount increased in both groups. Contrary to our expectations, both groups also increased in exercise enjoyment. This study provides initial evidence that exercising can be increased through an ACT intervention. ACT and implementation intentions may both be effective and brief interventions for promoting exercise behavior and exercise-related enjoyment in low-active women. Future research needs to establish the psychosocial and personality factors that lead to the effectiveness of ACT and implementation intentions.


Acceptance and commitment therapy Implementation intentions Exercise Enjoyment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Ivanova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Noa Yaakoba-Zohar
    • 1
  • Dennis Jensen
    • 2
  • Jamie Cassoff
    • 1
  • Bärbel Knäuper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Currie Memorial GymnasiumMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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