Do Looks Matter? A Longitudinal Investigation On The Aesthetic Appeal Of Exercise Equipment Location In Predicting Usage And Behavioral Determinants

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Kaushal, Navin
Nemati, Donya
Hagger, Martin S
Keith, NiCole
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San Diego, USA

PURPOSE: Research on the built environment has largely focused on the macro environment, which has revealed several correlates to physical activity (PA), such as aesthetics. Aesthetics reflect the pleasant appeal of a location that can predict PA. We hypothesize this construct to also function as a determinant of PA in the home (micro environment), specifically, the location aesthetics of where cardiovascular or weight training equipment is stationed. The purpose of this study was to investigate how location aesthetics of home-based exercise equipment predicts PA using the integrated behavior change (IBC) model.

METHODS: Adult owners of exercise equipment (n = 231) were recruited using social media. Participants were 65% female and were averaging 168 min (SD = 140) of moderate-to-vigorous PA/week. Participants completed three monthly surveys that assessed the location aesthetics of the owners’ cardiovascular and weight training equipment, behavior/PA levels, and constructs from the IBC model. The framework was tested using a multilevel structural equation model with measured constructs (level 2), nested within time (level 1).

RESULTS: The model demonstrated appropriate fit indices and found a linear trajectory pattern to best describe the data. Behavior was found to be predicted by intention (β = .30, p = .003), habit (β = .41, p < .001), and planning (β = .22, p = .007). Specifically, planning moderated the intention-behavior pathway, where those who scored higher on planning engaged in more PA. Autonomous motivation predicted intention (β = .37, p < .001), and habit (β = .44, p < .001), via total effects. Location aesthetics of cardiovascular and strength training equipment directly predicted autonomous motivation (β = .12, p < .001; β = .10, p < .001, respectively), and aesthetics of cardiovascular equipment predicted habit (β = .14, p < .001), and intention (β = .11, p < .001), when accounting for total effects.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings revealed determinants of the IBC model along with location aesthetics of equipment to demonstrate several predictive effects of PA. These findings provide translational notes when designing experimental studies. Specifically, situating exercise equipment in an appealing location can help facilitate PA maintenance constructs such as habit, planning, and autonomous motivation.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
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ACSM’s 2022 Annual Meeting, World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise and Vascular Health
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Public health
Sport and exercise psychology
Sports science and exercise
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Kaushal, N; Nemati, D; Hagger, MS; Keith, N, Do Looks Matter? A Longitudinal Investigation On The Aesthetic Appeal Of Exercise Equipment Location In Predicting Usage And Behavioral Determinants, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2022, 54 (9), pp. 118-118