Other Subject Area

Physical Activity and Health Outcomes


International Journal of Exercise Science 15(7): 667-675, 2022. The prevalence of depression and insufficient physical activity (PA) continue to rise in the United States, particularly among college students. PA is typically associated with decreased levels of depressive symptoms; however, the association between different intensities of PA and depressive symptoms is unclear among college students. The aim of this study was to examine how well weekly moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA) and strength training (ST) volumes predicted depressive symptoms in college students. Students self-reported weekly MPA, VPA, ST, depressive symptoms (CESD-7), restful nights of sleep, grade point average (GPA) and socio-demographic characteristics. Four individual linear regression models were performed to examine how MPA, VPA, and ST predicted depressive symptoms. Covariates controlled for socio-demographic characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation) and other variables (GPA and sleep) that could influence depressive symptoms. Data suggested that higher volumes of VPA (β = -0.11; R2 = 0.157) and higher days of ST (β = -0.11; R2 = 0.157) significantly predicted (p < 0.001) lower depressive symptoms. While MPA volume (β = -0.01; R2 = 0.147) did not significantly predict depressive symptoms. Higher volumes of VPA and more days of ST participation predicts lower depressive symptoms in college students. High intensity exercise programs should be promoted at universities and throughout the young adult population. Exercise prescription may be useful and successful for students at risk of depression. Emphasis placed on these intensities will attempt to decrease depressive symptoms in students.