Preprint / Version 1

Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Help Children be Physically Active?

Exploring the Immersive Qualities of Les Mills’ and Marvel’s “Move Like the Avengers” Video


  • Emily Budzynski-Seymour
  • James Steele
  • Michelle Jones





Increasing children’s physical activity (PA) is a key public health concern. Recently there have been calls for more enjoyable PA interventions which focus on ensuring a positive affective response, yet this remains an under researched area. This study explored how using a narrative, characters, and music in a video-led PA session might influence the sense of immersion in the activity, and subsequently impact the affective response. One hundred and thirty-six participants (boys n= 65, girls n= 71) were recruited from both the United Kingdom (UK) (n=108) and outside the UK (n=28) with the majority of the sample (85%) being aged between 7-11 years old. Participants were required to complete the “Move Like the Avengers” PA video created by Les Mills and Marvel, and then complete a survey where they answered questions relating to their post activity affective responses, the use of a narrative with characters, the use of musical elements, and how immersed they felt when engaging. Positive average affective responses were found for children (valence mean score: 3.6 ±2.2, arousal mean score: 5.1 ±1.0) who engaged with the video. Further, structural equation modelling revealed the narrative with characters had little direct effect but did indirectly mediate the valence response through creating a sense of immersion (βstd = 0.122 [95%CI 0.013 to 0.231]; p = 0.012). Musical elements however had both a direct (βstd = 0.449 [95%CI 0.264 to 0.634]; p < 0.001), and an indirect (βstd = 0.122 [95%CI 0.014 to 0.229]; p = 0.011) effect upon valence. Arousal was not influenced by the narrative with characters whether directly or indirectly but musical elements though not having an indirect effect mediated by immersion, did have a direct effect upon arousal (βstd = 0.244 [95%CI 0.006 to 0.482]; p = 0.021). The results suggest that both narrative with characters, and the use of musical elements, led to a positive affective response and that the former effect may be mediated by their potential influence over immersion. Thus, these could be effective elements to include in a physical activity setting with children to support a positive affective response to the experience.