IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 15393: Before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Physical Fitness Association with Mental Health among Higher Education Students: A Multi-Group Analysis Model (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), created a significant problem people’s health around the world. The mental and physical health of entire populations has been negatively impacted due to the introduction of several restriction methods. Maintaining a specific physical activity and fitness level is crucial given the pandemic situation. The connection between physical fitness and mental health has recently received growing attention. In contrast to the message from physiological research, which lauds the general benefits of fitness for physical health, the corresponding psychological literature reveals a more complex relationship. This paper outlines the research evidence, focusing on the relationship between physical fitness and depression, anxiety, and stress before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were obtained from 390 higher education students (measuring their perception before and during the pandemic). They were analyzed by a structural equation modeling multi-group analysis to detect the variance in the test relationship before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Theoretical and empirical implications are also discussed.