Stress and physical fitness among female university students who regularly exercise during the previous two months

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Boonsita Suwannakul
Noppharath Sangkarit
Chula Intapanya
Narueporn Sompet
Panatda Chantakhat
Weerasak Tapanya


University students, particularly females, are susceptible to stress affecting their health. Previous evidence suggested that regular exercise promotes good mental and physical health. Female physical therapy students of University of Phayao frequently contend with a challenging academic environment and a lack of daily physical activity. Thus, this study aims to compare stress levels, anthropometric indices, and physical fitness between the groups of female university students who regularly exercise (PE), and those who did not i.e., a non-physical exercise (non-PE) group. One hundred and one female university students, aged between 18-23 years were recruited. The participants were assigned into two groups regarding exercise history over the last two months before participation in this study, including a regular PE group (exercise > 3 days/week, n = 55) and a non-PE group (exercise < 3 days/week, or no exercise, n = 46). All participants were measured for stress levels via the Suan Prung Stress Test-60, including susceptibility to stress, sources of stress, and symptoms of stress. Then, they were assessed for body mass index, waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR), and body fat percentage. The grip and leg muscle strength and muscle flexibility were determined. Finally, the participants performed the Queens College step test to measure maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Independent t-test or Mann-Whitney U test were used to compare all parameters between the two groups. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. The results showed that the susceptibility to stress scores and WHR in PE group were significantly lower than non-PE group (p-value = 0.01 and 0.03, respectively). In addition, VO2max in PE group were significantly higher than non-PE group (p-value = 0.02). The present findings suggested benefit of regular exercises among female physical therapy students who are vulnerable to stress, while they will be health professionals who are directly responsible to health promotion using exercises. The university or faculty may use strategies facilitating the students to engage in regular exercise programs that may promote their health, study outcomes, and awareness to positive exercise effects to be applied for their future patients.

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Suwannakul B, Sangkarit N, Intapanya C, Sompet N, Chantakhat P, Tapanya W. Stress and physical fitness among female university students who regularly exercise during the previous two months. Arch AHS [Internet]. 2023 Jul. 17 [cited 2024 May 28];35(2):35-4. Available from:
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