The Overall Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity


College students often are under monumental amounts of stress. Some of these stressors include but are not limited to:

-       Exams/quizzes

-       Pressure to succeed

-       Final projects

-       Lack of social interaction and social anxiety

-       Insecurities about relationships

-       Lack of self confidence and poor self esteem

-       Balancing work and school

-       Living situations

-       Lack of sleep

-       Procrastinating

-       Poor personal nutrition

-       Monetary problems

Exercise Can Decrease State and Trait Stress

Physical activity can decrease stress by improving mental health and self-esteem. Research has shown that participation in regular exercise can raise self-esteem and reduce the amount of hopelessness (Yigiter, 2014).


Further research has shown that exercise need not be even regular. Even acute exercise has the potential to reduce stress-related emotions (such as anxiety and hopelessness) (Giacobbi Jr. et al., 2007). These findings conclude that exercise would be an effective coping method for dealing with stress during academically or personally stressful situations.

Student Guide to Balancing Stress


Students' Perceptions of Exercise


According to our research, students that already exercise report a decrease in their stress levels after exercising. Stress from school had no significant impact on whether or not they would choose to exercise more or less.


Most students that reported they did not exercise agreed that 30 minutes of physical activity would benefit their mental health and stress levels. Most students would also be more likely to exercise after learning that exercise could potentially lower stress levels and increase mood state.



Giacobbi, P. R., Tuccitto, D. E., & Frye, N. (2007). Exercise, affect, and university students' appraisals of academic events prior to the final
          examination period. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 8(2), 261-274. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2006.04.001


Yigiter, K. (2014). The effects of participation in regular exercise on self-esteem and hopelessness of female university students. Social
          Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 42
(8), 1233-1243. doi:10.2224/sbp.2014.42.8.1233