More than one-half of university students in the United States and Canada are not active enough to gain health benefits. Enjoyment of exercise proposes a feasible solution to the absence of motivation surrounding physical activity. The purpose of this study is to compare the differences in reported enjoyment between upper and lower body cycling graded exercise to exhaustion (GXT). Seven university students (23 ± 3 years old; 26 ± 4 kg/m2) performed two randomized graded exercise tests on different days: one for upper body, one for lower body. Feeling Scale (FS) measured the affective response during exercise. Post-exercise enjoyment values were recorded 15 minutes after concluding GXT using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES), which has been shown to be a valid and reliable measure of physical activity enjoyment. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate mean differences between upper and lower body GXT enjoyment scores. Rank biserial correlations and Cohen's d values were used to evaluate effect size for the non-parametric and parametric analyses. Alpha level was set a priori at p < 0.05. Means and standard deviations were calculated for PACES, age, and BMI. No significant differences were found for enjoyment (p=0.162) between upper (104.3 ± 12.6) and lower-body cycling (97.8 ± 15.3). Notable effect sizes were found for the PACES Total and several subscales (Enjoy/Hate, Pleasant, and Contentment). No significant differences were found for the FS at ventilatory threshold (p=0.586) or at maximal aerobic power (p=0.670) between the upper and lower body GXT trials. More research is needed to explore exercise enjoyment across different exercise modes and provide a more particular evaluation of PACES subscales. Further research should aim to compare enjoyment levels across different physical activity levels (e.g., low, moderate, high), between sexes and within diverse populations.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Fukuda, David H.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences



Degree Program

Sport and Exercise Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date