This study had the following specific aims:
To address the third aim, investigators tested an SG exercise partner in one of two modes: (a) conjunctive-teammate mode and (b) conjunctive teammate who is not always superior (NAS) and is sometimes surpassed by the subject, plus (c) individual control condition. Subjects exercised six days a week for 24 weeks, using the following aerobic routines: (a) 30 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise on a stationary cycle at or above 75% HR max, (b) 4x4 minute intervals at or above 90% HR max with three minutes of active rest, (c) 6x2 minute intervals at varying intensities with two minutes of active rest, and (d) 30 second sprint intervals at maximal effort with 20 seconds of active rest.
In addition, investigators first tested whether the Conjunctive or NAS groups adhered more to the protocol than Controls. Conjunctive and NAS conditions averaged 15 more days completing the protocol than the Controls. However, group differences were not statistically different. In terms of the primary dependent measure, effort analyses are based on the continuous and four minute interval sessions. Subjects were not allowed to increase their intensity on the two minute intervals. Similarly, the dependent measure for the 30 second sprints was number of intervals completed, which all subjects completed. During Week 20, NAS subjects increased their effort more (M = 8.9 watts) compared to Controls (M = 1.5 watts) and Conjunctive subjects (M = 3.9 watts) on the four minute interval workout.
In regards to target prescribed watts, results showed no condition main effects from baseline; however, during the four minute interval sessions conjunctive trended toward greater exercise effort than control and coactive conditions. The four minute intervals likely represent the most motivationally demanding workout at 90% HR max. Increases in effort above target watts positively correlated with enjoyment, self-efficacy, and team perceptions during the four minute intervals. No relationships were found with less intense continuous exercise. Although this study did not find significances between group increases in performance effort, participants significantly increased their effort with the exercise video game (i.e., simulated bike paths).
Throughout the duration of the study, NAS subjects always outperformed Controls on the four minute intervals. All groups had large significant increases in VO2max from baseline to midpoint, then values leveled off from midpoint to final. Social connectedness rose significantly from midpoint to final, and those with an SG partner increased their teams' perceptions from midpoint to final. Subjects in NAS and Conjunctive conditions had higher self-efficacy beliefs than Controls after one week with the SG partner. Enjoyment remained stable, above response scale midpoint, across 24 weeks.
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