Washington: A new study has revealed that college students who exercised vigorously for 20 minutes at least three days a week were less likely to report poor mental health and perceived stress, and that part of the benefits of exercise may come from associated social encounters.
In the study socializing was defined as having five or more friends or spending more than 2 hours a day with others.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota surveyed more than 14,800 students at 94 four-year colleges in the United States and asked them about their exercise habits and their moods.
Lead author of the study, Nicole A. VanKim, M.P.H, a Ph.D. candidate in the division of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said that the findings indicate that socializing is an important aspect of engaging in vigorous physical activity, better mental health, and less perceived stress.
The study also found that the students who were more physically active in adolescence were more likely to be physically active in adulthood.
One conclusion of the study is that college health services can help students reduce mental health problems by increasing access to physical activity and sports or exercise programs. These programs should integrate social aspects into their design.
The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.