The Effects of a Single Bout of Exercise on Mood and Self-Esteem in Clinically Diagnosed Mental Health Patients


Objectives: Research has highlighted the importance of regular exercise within the general population and mental health groups in regard to mood and self-esteem, as well as single bout exercise within the general population. However, research into single bout exercise in mental health population is lacking. This study investigated the impact of a single bout of exercise, on mood and self-esteem, in patients with a wider clinical mental health diagnosis. Design: A quantitative questionnaire was completed immediately pre and post a single, 45 minute bout of moderate intensity exercise, consisting of the Brunel Universal Mood States (BRUMS) questionnaire and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSE). Methods: Participants attending a mental health hospital with a clinical mental health diagnosis (N = 54) completed the questionnaire. Information regarding physical activity levels, mental health diagnosis and length of hospital stay were collated. Results: A significant improvement was identified on the RSE as well as the BRUMS (depression, anger, confusion, anxious tension and vigour) over time. Conclusion: The significant findings highlight the importance of exercise promotion within this population group, and the potentially beneficial role that a single bout of exercise can have on mood and self-esteem in patients experiencing mental health problems.

Share and Cite:

Ellis, N. , Randall, J. and Punnett, G. (2013) The Effects of a Single Bout of Exercise on Mood and Self-Esteem in Clinically Diagnosed Mental Health Patients. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2, 81-85. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2013.23013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Department of Health, “No Health without Mental Health: A Cross-Government Mental Health Outcomes Strategy for People of All Ages,” HMSO, London, 2011.
[2] Department of Health, “Making It Happen: A Guide to Delivering Mental Health Promotion,” HMSO, London, 2001.
[3] The Office of national Statistics, Cenus, 2001.
[4] Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, “Policy Paper 3: The Economic and Social Costs of Mental Illness,” The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, London, 2001.
[5] S. J. H. Biddle and N. Mutrie, “Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-Being and Interventions,” Routledge, Abingdon, 2008.
[6] K. H. Cooper, J. S. Gallman and J. L. J. McDonald, “Role of Aerobic Exercise in Reduction of Stress,” Dental Clinics of North America, Vol. 30, No. 4, 1986, pp. 133-142.
[7] P. J. O’Connor, J. S. Raglin and E. W. Martinsen, “Physical Activity, Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders,” International Journal of Sport Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2000, pp. 136-155.
[8] L. L. Craft, “Exercise and Clinical Depression: Examining Two Psychological Mechanisms,” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2005, pp. 151-171. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2003.11.003
[9] P. C. Dinas, Y. Koutedakis and A. D. Flouris, “Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Depression,” Irish Journal of Medical Science, Vol. 180, No. 2, 2011, pp. 319-325. doi:10.1007/s11845-010-0633-9
[10] K. R. Fox, “The Influence of Physical Activity on Mental Well-Being,” Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 2, Suppl. 3, 1999, pp. 411-418. doi:10.1017/S1368980099000567
[11] D. Scully, J. Kremer, M. Meade, R. Grahma and K. Dudgeon, “Physical Exercise and Psychological Well Being: A Critical Review,” British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 32, No. 2, 1998, pp. 111-120. doi:10.1136/bjsm.32.2.111
[12] P. Ekkekakis, E. E. Hall, L. M. Van Landuyt and S. J. Petruzello, “Walking in (Affective) Circles: Can Short Walks Enhance Affect?” Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2000, pp. 245-275. doi:10.1023/A:1005558025163
[13] T. C. North, P. McCullagh and Z. V. Tran, “Effect of Exercise on Depression,” Exercise and Sport Science Review, Vol. 18, 1990, pp. 379-412. doi:10.1249/00003677-199001000-00016
[14] A. Szabo, “Acute Psychological Benefits of Exercise Performed at Self-Selected Workloads: Implications for Theory and Practice,” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, Vol. 2, 2003, pp. 77-87.
[15] R. R. Yeung, “The Acute Effects of Exercise on Mood State,” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 40, No. 2, 1996, pp. 123-141. doi:10.1016/0022-3999(95)00554-4
[16] P. M. Dubbert, J. D. White, K. B. Grothe, J. O. Jile and K. A. Kirchner, “Physical Activity in Patients Who Are Severely Mentally Ill: Feasibility of Assessment for Clinical and Research Applications,” Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, Vol. 20, No. 5, 2006, pp. 205-209. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2006.04.002
[17] K.A. Barbour, T. M. Edenfield and J. A. Blumrnthal, “Exercise as a Treatment for Depression and Other Psychiatric Disorders: A Review,” Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention, Vol. 27, 2007, pp. 359-367.
[18] D. Carless and K. Douglas, “The Role of Sport and Exercise in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness: Two Case Studies,” International Journal of Men’s Health, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2008, pp. 137-156. doi:10.3149/jmh.0702.137
[19] D. S. Hutchinson, “Structured Exercise for Persons with Serious Psychiatric Disabilities,” Psychiatric Services, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2005, pp. 353-354. doi:10.1176/
[20] F. J. Penedo and J. R. Dahn, “Exercise and Well-Being: A Review of Mental and Physical Health Benefits Associated with Physical Activity,” Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2005, pp. 189-193. doi:10.1097/00001504-200503000-00013
[21] B. M. Wipfli, C. D. Rethorst and D. M. Landers, “The Anxiolytic Effects of Exercise: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials and Dose-Response Analysis,” Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2008, pp. 392-410.
[22] C. D. Rethorst, B. M. Wipfli and D. M. Landers, “The Anti-Depressive Effects of Exercise: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials,” Sports Medicine, Vol. 39, No. 6, 2009, pp. 491-511. doi:10.2165/00007256-200939060-00004
[23] N., Ellis, D. Crone, R. Davey and S. Grogan, “Exercise Interventions as an Adjunct Therapy for Psychosis: A Critical Review,” British Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2007, pp. 95-111. doi:10.1348/014466506X122995
[24] J. B. Bartholomew, D. Morrison and J. T. Ciccolo, “Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood and Well-Being in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 37, No. 12, 2005, pp. 2032-2037. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000178101.78322.dd
[25] A. A. Weinstein, P. A. Deuster, P. L. Francis, C. Beadling and W. J. Kop, “The Role of Depression in Short-Term Mood and Fatigue Responses to Acute Exercise,” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2010, pp. 51-57. doi:10.1007/s12529-009-9046-4
[26] R. R. Yeung and D. R. Hemsley, “Effects of Personality and Acute Exercise on Mood States,” Personality and Individual’s Difference, Vol. 20, No. 5, 1996, pp. 545-550. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(95)00222-7
[27] D. Clark-Carter, “Quantitative Psychological Research Third Edition,” Psychology Press, New York, 2010.
[28] K. Milton, F. C. Bull and A. Bauman, “Reliability and Validity Testing of a Single-Item Physical Activity Measure,” British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 6, 2010, pp. 348-352.
[29] N. Ellis, C. Gidlow and R. Davey, “Exploring Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity Using a Social Marketing Approach in Community Settings,” Care Service Improvement Partnership Document, 2009.
[30] T. Andrade, C. Arce, J. Torrado, J. Garrido, C. De Fancisco and I. Arce, “Factor Structure and Invariance of The Poms Mood State Questionnaire in Spanish,” Spanish Journal of Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2010, pp. 444-452. doi:10.1017/S1138741600003991
[31] D. M. McNaire, M. Lorr and L. F. Droppleman, “Manual for the Profile of Mood States,” Education and Industrial Testing Service, San Diego, 1971.
[32] P. C. Terry, A. M. Lane and G. J. Fogarty, “Construct Validity of the Profile of Mood States—Adolescents for the Use with Adults,” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2003, pp. 125-139. doi:10.1016/S1469-0292(01)00035-8
[33] P. C. Terry, A. M. Lane, H. J. Lane and L. Keohane, “Development and Validation of a Mood Measure for Adolescents,” Journal of Sport Sciences, Vol. 17, No. 22, 1999, pp. 861-872. doi:10.1080/026404199365425
[34] M. Rosenberg, “Society and the Adolescent Self-Image,” Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965.
[35] W. C. Torrey, K. T. Mueser, G. H. McHugo and R. E. Drake, “Self-Esteem as an Outcome Measure in Studies of Vocational Rehabilitation for Adults with Severe Mental Illness,” Psychiatric Services, Vol. 51, No. 2, 2000, pp. 229-233. doi:10.1176/

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.