Power of Choice on Exercise Adherence and Cardiovascular Health

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of British Columbia
Updated on 16 February 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal and is linked to the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in adults with prediabetes is important for preventing CVD. The primary aim of this study is to improve the CRF among adults with prediabetes by improving exercise adherence through providing choice to self-select their own exercise type and intensity.


This trial has been informed by self-determination theory. The theory states that individuals who choose their own activities report increased internal reasons/motivations, as opposed to external reasons (to satisfy another person's suggestions) for the behavior. Internal motivation for performing a behavior are linked with increased pleasure with the behavior and improved adherence.

The primary outcome is improvement in CRF from baseline to 12-months post-intervention. The secondary outcomes are changes in exercise adherence from baseline to 6- and 12-month post-intervention. Tertiary outcomes include self-reported changes in in-task affective responses during the exercise intervention, as well as baseline to 6- and 12-month post-intervention changes in exercise-related motivation and enjoyment in free-living, unsupervised exercise. A total of 201 low active adults (18 to 70 years) with prediabetes will be randomized to a 3-week supervised intervention involving behavioral counseling and one of three exercise conditions, either: 1) imposed high-intensity interval training (Imposed-HIIT; n=67/group); 2) imposed moderate-intensity continuous training (Imposed-MICT), or 3) choice between MICT or HIIT (CHOICE). It is hypothesized that the CHOICE condition will have higher improvements in CRF (primary outcome) from baseline to 12-month post-intervention, and exercise adherence (secondary outcome) from baseline to 6- and 12-months post-intervention, compared to individuals in the IM-MICT or IM-HIIT. For the tertiary outcomes, the CHOICE condition will show greater in-task affective responses during the exercise intervention. We further except greater changes in exercise-related motivation and enjoyment for the CHOICE condition from baseline to 6- and 12-months post-intervention compared to IM-HIIT and IM-MICT conditions. This proposed trial would provide theory- and evidence-based information whether providing choice for engaging in HIIT or MICT is associated with improvements in CRF, exercise adherence, and exercise enjoyment.

Condition Cardiorespiratory Fitness
Treatment Choice, Imposed-MICT, Imposed-HIIT
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03576924
SponsorUniversity of British Columbia
Last Modified on16 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

BMI 22-45 kg/m2
HbA1c score indicative of prediabetes (5.7-6.4%)
blood pressure of <160/99 mm Hg assessed according to Canadian Hypertension Education Program guidelines
without diagnosed diabetes
no prior history of cardiovascular disease
not on hormone replacement therapy
Cardiovascular medications (e.g., statins) will be allowed if patients are on stable therapy (6 months on same dose)

Exclusion Criteria

taking glucose-lowering medications
fasting triglycerides 5.5 mmol/l
any explicit contraindications to exercise (e.g., musculoskeletal injury)
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