Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Paul Sacco

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Rose


This study was concerned with acute responses to exercise in people over the age of 50 (N = 80). In particular the relationship between Self-efficacy and perceived exertion during exercise at workloads (a) based on a target heart rate (prescribed intensities) and (b) based on participant preference (preferred intensities) were observed. Perceptual (perceived exertion), Self-efficacy and heart rate responses of low active older participants engaged in either walking or cycle ergometer exercise at preferred and prescribed intensities were also reported. Significant inverse correlations were observed between pre and post exercise Self-efficacy and perceived exertion during acute exercise at prescribed intensities (R < .01). In contrast no significant correlations were observed between these variables during acute preferred intensity exercise. These findings suggest that differences exist in the nature of the interaction between physiological and psychological responses to acute exercise at prescribed compared to preferred intensities. It was also found that low active participants experienced greater increases in pre to post exercise Self-efficacy (g < .0 I), and reduced levels of perceived exertion (g < .01 ), during acute exercise consisting of walking at preferred intensities compared to walking at prescribed intensities. Heart rate responses observed across time for participants engaged in walking at preferred intensities fell within a. range of intensities suitable for improving aerobic conditioning. It is therefore concluded that exercise guideline which encourage individuals to exercise at intensities they prefer represent a safe and effective alternative to traditional exercise prescriptions for guiding intensity when the primary aim is to reduce negative acute responses to exercise and maximise levels of Self-efficacy.