Journal article Open Access
Objectives: Physical activity (PA) positively influences several aspects of mental well-being including affect improvements. Yet, the fact that subjective and objective measures of PA often diverge challenges research on the relationship of PA and affect. Methods: Subjective (ecological momentary assessment, EMA) and objective (combined heart rate and accelerometric activity tracker) measures of PA alongside repeated ratings of positive and negative affects were obtained from 37 participants over 7 consecutive days. Results: Subjective and objective PA were significantly positively correlated. Affect improvements, that is, negative affect decrease as well as positive affect increase, were predicted by both subjective (EMA) and objective (activity tracker) data. Conclusions: Measurement concordance supports the validity of both assessment strategies. Affect improvements result from both subjective representations of one’s own activity as well as from physiological mechanisms of PA that one is not aware of, suggesting two independent routes to affect improvements.