Self-regulation and self-control in exercise: The strength-energy model
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This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in International Review of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2010, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/">http://www.tandfonline.com/</a>. DOI: 10.1080/17509840903322815
Self-regulation is an important component of psychosocial theories of exercise behaviour and lack of self-regulatory skills are associated with low adherence to health-related exercise. This review presents a strength-energy model of self-control as an explanation of self-regulation in exercise contexts. The review will provide impetus for original research aimed at understanding exercise behaviour and help develop recommendations for exercise promotion. In the model, self-control is conceptualized as a global but limited resource. Engaging in actions requiring self-control depletes resources leading to self-regulatory failure. Self-control resource depletion is reduced through rest and frequent training on self-control. The expectation of the need to exert self-control in future leads to a conservation of self-control resources. Proposed mechanisms for self-control resource depletion include changes in physiological markers and blood glucose levels. Based on our review, we propose an integrated model of self-regulation incorporating hypotheses from the strength-energy model with those from traditional psychosocial models of exercise behaviour. Recommendations for future research include incorporating hypotheses from the strength-energy model into theories of self-presentation and interpersonal relations in exercise. Practical recommendations aimed at minimising self-control depletion in exercise include the provision of advice on nutrition and recovery, self-control training and motivational and implementation intention strategies.
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