The average age of the 99 participants was 19. Their average body mass index was 24.7, which is within the ideal range for body size. The women reported that they worked out at moderate or vigorous intensity about 3.3 times a week.
The women participated in one of four 45-minute step-aerobics classes. The same instructor taught each class, although she emphasized health over appearance in two of the classes. In the other two classes, she emphasized appearance over health. One class in each scenario included a mirror.
There is a fair amount of research that suggests that mirrors in a workout room can negatively affect how someone feels, particularly a woman who is concerned about her physical appearance, Focht said.
In the classes that emphasized health over appearance, the instructor wore a loose-fitting t-shirt and gym shorts. She also sprinkled health-oriented comments throughout the session, such as Work it, let's get fit and healthy!
She wore tight-fitting aerobics attire in the appearance-oriented classes. She made comments throughout the classes that drew attention to appearance, such as Stand tall, you'll look five pounds lighter or Work it, let's get your legs toned so they look good!
About five to 10 minutes after class each woman filled out the Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory. This questionnaire measures how someone feels after exercising, whether revitalized, physically exhausted, tranquil, etc. The women also answered questions on the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale, whereby each woman rated how much she enjoyed the class, and whether she would likely participate in a similar class in the future.
The results of both surveys suggested that the instructor's leadership style directly affected the student's attitudes toward the class. The women in the he
Contact: Brian Focht
Ohio State University