Dr. Anne E. Cox
Kinesiology/Sport and Exercise Psychology
Pullman, WA 99164
Follow me on Twitter @Annecox21
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At its core, my research is fueled by wanting to help people WANT to move and live an active lifestyle. This type of motivation – the type that makes you really want to move – is referred to as autonomous motivation. The type of autonomous motivation that is most likely to sustain long-term physical activity behaviors is intrinsic motivation. When we are intrinsically motivated to move, we do so for the inherent rewards that come from moving such as enjoying the physical sensations or internal feelings of competence that come with engaging in physical challenges. My perspective is that if you are not intrinsically motivated to move, you simply haven’t been exposed to the right activity or the right physical activity environment.
This has led to my recent interest in the role of mindfulness during physical activity. Mindfulness refers to open, nonjudgmental attention to the here and now and can include mental (e.g., thoughts) and physical (e.g., exertion, muscular sensations) objects of attention. Conceptually, paying attention to one’s current experience while moving seems a necessary prerequisite to actually enjoying being active. We can’t enjoy what we aren’t paying attention to, right? This is in contrast to many of the strategies individuals use to “get through” a workout such as listening to music or watching TV. Our recent research findings support the positive associations of mindfulness of one’s physical experience to intrinsic motivation for a particular bout of physical activity as well as more internal sources of motivation more generally. We are currently investigating how mindfulness during physical activity not only supports more intrinsic motivation but also contributes to a less objectified view of the self, thus improving body image. Please explore our lab website to learn more about what we are doing including our current projects and research blog. You can also listen to my podcast, Moving Mindfully, to learn more about how the research informs our practice.
Psychology of Physical Activity Laboratory
Smith Gym 213-A
Department of Kinesiology and Educational Psychology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164