Abstract Background: Physical activity (PA) confers numerous benefits to health and health care costs, yet most adults are not meeting recommended PA guidelines. Stress may be a factor that influences PA behavior. Research investigating the impact of stress on PA has yielded inconsistent findings. Most studies find that stress negatively impacts PA, but there is some evidence that habitual exercising buffers this association. Objective: This study aims to examine the relationship between stress and exercise habits among habitual exercisers with internet-connected home fitness equipment (Peloton Bike) during the COVID-19 lockdown. Methods: Participants were recruited through Facebook (N=146) and asked to complete an internet-based survey that assessed COVID-19-related stressors, perceived stress associated with those stressors, and general perceived stress. Self-reported exercise was assessed on the survey using the Godin Leisure-time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ). Participants were also asked for consent to access their Peloton usage data through the Peloton platform. From their usage data, the frequency and duration of cycling classes was calculated for 4 weeks prior to and 12 weeks following the survey. Hierarchical regression equations tested the association between stress reported on the survey and subsequent exercise participation. Exercise participation was quantified both as the frequency and duration of Peloton cycling over the 12 weeks following the survey and as self-reported moderate to vigorous activity on a second survey completed by a subset of participants 12 weeks after the initial survey. Results: There were 146 participants in our Peloton analysis sample and 66 in the self-reported exercise analysis. Peloton user data showed that study participants cycled frequently (mean 5.9 times per week) in the month prior to the initial survey, and that presurvey Peloton use was a strong predictor of exercise frequency (R2=0.57; F2,143=95.27; P<.001) and duration (R2=0.58; F2,143=102.58; P<.001) for the 12 subsequent weeks. Self-reported overall exercise likewise showed that this sample was very active, with an average of more than 8 times per week of moderate to vigorous exercise at the initial survey. Self-reported exercise on the initial survey was a strong predictor of self-reported exercise 12 weeks later (R2=0.31; F1,64=29.03; P<.001). Perceived stress did not impact Peloton cycling duration or frequency (P=.81 and .76, respectively) or self-reported exercise (P=.28). Conclusions: The results suggest that stress did not negatively impact exercise participation among habitually active adults with access to internet-connected home fitness equipment. Habitual exercise may buffer the impact of stress on participation in regular moderate to vigorous activity. Future research should examine the role that the availability of home-based internet-connected exercise equipment may play in this buffering.

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