Are you in Canada? Click here to proceed to the HK Canada website.

For all other locations, click here to continue to the HK US website.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Courses or Access Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase online videos, online courses or to access previously purchased digital products please press continue.

Mare Nostrum Logo

Purchase Print Products or eBooks

Human Kinetics print books and eBooks are now distributed by Mare Nostrum, throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Middle East, delivered to you from their warehouse. Please visit our new UK website to purchase Human Kinetics printed or eBooks.

Feedback Icon Feedback Get $15 Off

Human Kinetics is moving to summer hours. Starting May 31 – August 2, our hours will be Mon – Thurs, 7am – 5pm CDT. Orders placed on Friday with digital products/online courses will be processed immediately. Orders with physical products will be processed on the next business day.

Exercise Intensity and Enjoyment: A Trade-Off

By Chuck Corbin, Arizona State University


The dropout rate for adults who begin a new physical activity is known to be relatively high. As many as 50 percent drop out within the first six months. Research suggests that one possible reason is that many people don’t enjoy vigorous physical activity. In fact, various researchers have suggested that, for many people, an inverse relationship exists between physical activity enjoyment and the intensity of exercise. This relationship is illustrated in the accompanying figure.


Inverse relationship between exercise intensity and enjoyment


As the intensity of physical activity increases, the enjoyment of the exercise (while performing it) decreases. For many people, moderate activity is more enjoyable than vigorous activity. But reaping health benefits from moderate exercise requires longer sessions, and lack of time is often cited as a reason for not being active. High-intensity exercise can be done in a short period of time, but it is not enjoyable for many people, which can lead to lack of adherence. This is known as the intensity–enjoyment trade-off.


At first glance, the trade-off may cause kettle bell exercisesome people to be discouraged about becoming more active: “If I have little time to exercise, I can do short-duration intense exercise, which may be unenjoyable. On the other hand, if I do less-intense exercise that I may find more enjoyable, it will take longer than the time I can spare.” But recent research suggests that not all people find vigorous activity to be unenjoyable. The key seems to be self-selection: If you choose the vigorous activity that you perform, you are more likely to enjoy it.


This information has implications for physical education, especially since helping students to be active in and out of school is an important program goal. To help increase student engagement,  consider the following options:

  • Educate Students about the intensity-enjoyment trade-off.
  • Survey students to determine activities that they enjoy.
  • Offer opportunities to participate in moderate activities to enhance enjoyment.
  • Help students see the benefits of vigorous activities such as saving time during busy days.


Chuck practices what he preaches.  After 45 years of teaching, researching, writing, and promoting regular healthy lifestyles, he walks, plays golf, does his own yard work, and does regular core and muscle fitness exercises. He enjoys playing his guitar as well as traveling with his wife of 56 years and being with his four granddaughters. Learn more about the books written by Chuck, including Fitness for Life and Health for Life resources.