Effect of Moderate Intensity Exercise with Low Frequency on the Mental Health of Physical Therapy Professionals

Date of Award

Spring 3-1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Exercise Science



First Advisor

Brenda Davies


With the rising prevalence of burnout, depression, and anxiety within the healthcare setting due to COVID-19, it is prudent to investigate how exercise plays a role in healthcare workers’ mental health. Additionally, there is a significant gap in the literature when the role of exercise is applied to physical therapists. The purpose of this research project was to examine how a low frequency moderate-intensity exercise regimen would impact the mental health of physical therapy professionals. Three participants engaged in three 30-minute walks per week for eight weeks. The scores from a burnout, depression, and anxiety survey were collected pre- and post-intervention. After running a paired t-test to determine if there was a significant difference in these scores, it was determined that three 30-minute walks per week were not enough to improve the mental health of physical therapy professionals significantly. This result may be due to a small sample size. While no significant change was found, the importance of researching the mental health of healthcare professionals remains high. It can be concluded that those who seek to improve their physical and mental health should adhere to the current exercise guidelines as prescribed by governing bodies such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the World Health Organization.

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