Share this article on:

Can the Feeling Scale Be Used to Regulate Exercise Intensity?


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 10 - p 1852-1860
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817a8aea
APPLIED SCIENCES: Psychobiology and Behavioral Strategies

Introduction/Purpose: It is important that individuals experience a positive affective response during exercise to encourage future behavior. Exercise intensity is a determinant of the affective response. Current research protocols have failed to find the intensity at which all individuals will experience this positive affective response. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to evaluate whether sedentary women could self-regulate their exercise intensity during exercise using the Hardy and Rejeski Feeling Scale (FS) to experience a specific positive affective state and to examine the specific intensities chosen and their consistency over exercise bouts.

Methods: Seventeen sedentary women completed eight 30-min laboratory-based treadmill exercise sessions (two sessions were completed each week). In four consecutive sessions, participants exercised at an intensity they perceived corresponded to an FS value of 1 (fairly good) and the other four sessions at an intensity corresponding to an FS value of 3 (good). Measures of exercise intensity were recorded.

Results: Participants exercised at a lower intensity to achieve an affective state of good (FS 3) compared with fairly good (FS 1). Both these intensities lay close to the individual's ventilatory threshold. The selected intensity was consistent across trials with intensity increasing across time to maintain the required affective state.

Conclusions: Sedentary women can regulate intensity using the FS to experience a pleasant affective state, and the intensities chosen are physiologically beneficial for health and fitness.

1School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND; and 2School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Elaine A. Rose, Ph.D., School of Physical Education, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2007.

Accepted for publication April 2008.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine