Shaine Henert, Chris Hill, Benjamin Connors, Juan Navarro, Grace Louis


Concern for college students’ mental health has grown recently as rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation have risen. Although exercise has been shown to improve one’s mental health, few young adults engage in sufficient regular exercise to achieve these benefits. Identifying innovative strategies to maintain emotional well-being would help support the mental health of young adults. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to examine the comparative effects of acute moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and transdermal nerve stimulation (TNS) on one’s perceptions of emotional well-being. Twenty-two, healthy, physically active, college-age individuals participated in the study. A within-subjects crossover design was used to compare participants’ ratings of positive and negative affect using the PANAS. Ratings of positive affect were significantly higher in the exercise compared to the control condition, but only slightly higher than the TNS condition. There were no significant differences in ratings of negative affect. This supports previous research that acute exercise promotes emotional well-being. It also provides preliminary support for the innovative use of neurostimulation to enhance one’s emotional well-being. More research is needed to better understand the efficacy and practicality of using neurostimulation as a complement to exercise to support college students’ emotional well-being.


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