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.