Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 482–496 | Cite as

Cognitive reappraisal reduces perceived exertion during endurance exercise

  • Grace E. GilesEmail author
  • Julie A. Cantelon
  • Marianna D. Eddy
  • Tad T. Brunyé
  • Heather L. Urry
  • Holly A. Taylor
  • Caroline R. Mahoney
  • Robin B. Kanarek
Original Paper


Emotion regulation may influence psychological responses to exercise. We examined whether the emotion regulation strategies, cognitive reappraisal and distraction, influenced psychological state and prefrontal cortex oxygenation during endurance exercise. Twenty-four endurance runners ran for 90 min at 75–85% maximum heart rate in three separate sessions with no instruction or with instructions to use cognitive reappraisal or distraction. Participants rated their emotional arousal, emotional valence, and perceived exertion before, every 30 min during, and after exercise. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy quantified changes in prefrontal cortex oxygenation. Participants felt lower emotional arousal and physical exertion when instructed to utilize cognitive reappraisal than when given no emotion regulation instruction. Such responses to distraction did not differ from the other conditions. Emotion regulation strategies did not influence emotional valence or prefrontal cortex oxygenation. Participants’ analytical interpretation of the cognitive reappraisal instruction could contribute to small effect sizes and limited effects. Further research should determine contexts under which emotion regulation strategies most benefit endurance exercise experience.


Exercise Emotion regulation Cognitive reappraisal Distraction Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) 



The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the United States Army. Research reported was supported through a contract with the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC, Natick, Massachusetts, USA) under award number W911QY13C0012.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grace E. Giles
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Julie A. Cantelon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marianna D. Eddy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tad T. Brunyé
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Heather L. Urry
    • 2
    • 3
  • Holly A. Taylor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Caroline R. Mahoney
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robin B. Kanarek
    • 3
  1. 1.Cognitive Science Team, US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering CenterNatickUSA
  2. 2.Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive SciencesMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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