Institute of Sports Science

Background

In everyday life, we consider individual differences in appearance, attitudes, lifestyle etc. as normal. In health-related activity programs, in contrast, people are often treated in a stereotypical way and do not get individually tailored behavioral advice. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of studies on both physiological and affective responses to physical activity stimuli showing considerable differences between individuals. What has not been thoroughly analyzed by now is how the subjectively experienced individuality of a person (represented in the person’s biography and body-related self-concept) and the individual physiological stress response to a standardized exercise training session influence the adaptive response to exercise regimes. How physiological and affective responses to physical activity interrelate with each other has also been barely investigated.

The main goal of our PhD network is to examine how individuals react affectively and physiologically to physical activity interventions dependent on their health- and activity-related biographical experiences, their relationship to their own body, and their motivation to exercise.

This is highly relevant because interventions which claim to effectively and sustainably promote the individual’s health have to take into account that not every form of physical activity leads to the same responses in different individuals. Likewise, not every activity is equally rewarding for a person, not least due to his or her activity- and health-related biographical experiences and motivational prerequisites. In this regard, the expected results of the PhD network contribute to the advancement of personalized health promotion and prevention strategies using one of the most effective means – physical activity.