Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


This study was conducted to determine if distraction during exercise affects the exercise steady state. If distraction affected the exercise steady state, then a secondary purpose was to determine if coping strategies (cognitive training) improve task focus thus maintaining steady state. Forty participants volunteered and a repeated measures design was employed. All participants exercised on an elliptical trainer (self-paced device) during Visit I and distractions were initiated while they were exercising. On the second day (Visit 2) participants were divided into a treatment and control group and followed the Visit I procedure exactly except that the treatment group received cognitive training prior to exercise. During both visits, measuring BP was used as a physical distraction and engaging in a conversation was used as a cognitive distraction. Elliptical trainer stride rate in revolutions per minute (RPM) and exercise heart rate (HR) were used as dependant measures of exercise intensity. The participants were asked to maintain a moderately hard exercise intensity (80% of the age predicted maximum HR) for l5 min. They were blinded to the true purpose of the study and were told "we are testing two different techniques for measuring BP',. Deception was necessary so the participants perceived the exercise as a routine workout day, thereby minimizing any potential bias that might have affected their effort. A 2x2 RM ANOVA and dependent sample- t-tests were employed for data analyses. It was seen that measuring BP or engaging in a conversation, physical and cognitive distraction respectively, lowers the exercise intensity. Cognitive training in the form of instruction helps cope with distractions, resulting in maintenance of exercise steady state, leading to improved exercise performance. This information should be useful to exercise professionals who arc interested in helping clients maintain exercise steady state and achieve optimal results.



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