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The transition from undergraduate to graduate school has the potential to increase demands among students surrounding coursework as well as fiscal responsibilities. The increased demand has the potential to alter the student’s physical activity which can negatively affect mental health. Physical exercise has the potential to reduce depression as well as negative mood symptoms, such as stress. Exercising also allows for boosting energy, improvement of sleep quality, and relaxation quality. The purpose of this research study was to examine the mental health of the graduate participants prior and after a two-week exercise regimen. The presented study focused on a two-week exercise period, assessing mental health via survey as well as possible barriers to exercise within the participants in Milledgeville, GA. It was hypothesized that the graduate students, who participated in the study were to have decreased levels of depression after completion of the physical activity regimen. A survey was created and analyzed to gather and report information surrounding mental health and physical activity. The survey included questions regarding demographics, a depression questionnaire from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) as well as barrier topics. A single-sample t test was utilized to compare the mean of the given Beck Depression score from pre-participation to post-participation. The findings from the study showed a 42.42% decrease in depressive symptoms throughout the two-week period. However, due to low participation, the results were found non-significant. The limitation of the study was due to the low sample size, therefore future studies would call for a larger sample size to meet the power needs for meaningful results. This study has given the opportunity for research to shift focus from undergraduate college students to graduate students to improve the focus of mental health disorders as well as physical activity.



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