Physical Activity’s Effect on Mental Health

Slides by Justin Postma

Despite overwhelming evidence demonstrating that physical activity is associated with reduced mortality and extensive physical and psychological health benefits, few people actually engaged in regular physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, my project focused on the research question: What affect does physical activity play on the psychological health of individual’s during a pandemic? This project first goes through the scientific literature related to the topic at hand then later on takes into account interviews done on college students. There were two sources of academic literature that were the primary support of my project’s background. The first article was a research paper which studied the acute effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behavior in university students and employees. The other is a research article that studied the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health impacts. These two articles provided the background knowledge necessary to understand the topic I have made my final project about. I used interviews as my primary source of data for my ethnographic research. I talked to college students of varying fitness levels in order to see how their mental health has been throughout the pandemic and how they thought it related to the amount they exercised. Included in my presentation are a few of their quotes directly related to the research question. Psychological health affects how we think, feel and act. Not only that, but it can also determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. Psychological health is therefore important at every stage of life and is extremely important to look at when studying people.


Barkley, J., Lepp, A., Glickman, E., Farnell, G., Beiting, J., Wiet, R., & Dowdell, B. (2020, September 1). The acute effects of the covid-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behavior in university students and employees. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from

Bourdas, D., & Zacharakis, E. (2020, October 21). Impact of covid-19 lockdown on physical activity in a sample of greek adults. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from 

Dwyer, M., Pasini, M., De Dominicis, S., & Righi, E. (2020, June 16). Physical activity: Benefits and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from 

Paluska, S. A., & Schwenk, T. L. (2000). Physical activity and mental health. Sports Medicine,29(3), 167-180. doi:10.2165/00007256-200029030-00003 

Usher, K., Durkin, J., & Bhullar, N. (2020, April 10). The COVID-19 pandemic and mental health impacts. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from   

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