A new study at the University of Minnesota reveals that a combination of exercise and socialising can help college students reduce stress. The researchers reported that students who exercised vigorously for 20 minutes at least three days a week were less likely to experience poor mental health and perceived stress.
A part of the benefits of exercise came from the associated social encounters. They defined socializing as having five or more friends or spending more than 2 hours a day with others.
They surveyed more than 14,800 students in various colleges in the United States and asked them about their exercise habits and their moods.
According to the 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, the findings of the survey indicate that socializing is an important aspect of engaging in vigorous physical activity, better mental health and less perceived stress.
Another finding was that the students who were more physically active in their adolescence were more likely to be physically active in adulthood. Researchers suggested that college health services can help students reduce mental health problems by increasing access to physical activity and sports or exercise programs. And, these programs should integrate the social aspects into their design.
The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
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