Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatry. Jan 19, 2024; 14(1): 1-7
Published online Jan 19, 2024. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v14.i1.1
Unlocking the power of physical activity in easing psychological distress
Xin-Qiao Liu, Xin Wang
Xin-Qiao Liu, Xin Wang, School of Education, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300350, China
Author contributions: Liu XQ designed the study; Liu XQ and Wang X wrote the manuscript; and all authors contributed equally to this work and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interests.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Xin-Qiao Liu, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Education, Tianjin University, No. 135 Yaguan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin 300350, China.xinqiaoliu@pku.edu.cn
Received: November 17, 2023
Peer-review started: November 17, 2023
First decision: December 17, 2023
Revised: December 20, 2023
Accepted: December 28, 2023
Article in press: December 28, 2023
Published online: January 19, 2024

The severity of the current global mental health situation and the importance of maintaining psychological well-being call for more powerful, convenient, and efficient solutions for addressing psychological issues and relieving mental stress. Physical activity not only effectively improves physical fitness and reduces negative emotions such as anxiety and depression but also increases the improvement of psychological health and sense of well-being. At the same time, physical activity interventions for mental health have unique advantages, including reducing the side effects of psychological interventions and increasing necessity, convenience, and cost-effectiveness, as well as flexible adaptability across multiple methods, groups, and age ranges, providing stronger support for relieving psychological stress and addressing psychological issues. Although physical activity is an important intervention measure in relieving psychological stress, its value and role in mental health care seem to have not yet received sufficient attention, and its potential remains to be further revealed. Given the significant advantages and effectiveness of physical activity in mental health intervention practices, it is necessary to stimulate its potential in relieving psychological stress through various means in future studies to better safeguard the public’s physical and mental health. Developing guidelines for physical activity for improved mental health, enhancing organic integration with other inter-vention measures, and providing necessary respect, encouragement, and support are important directions to consider.

Keywords: Physical activity, Psychological distress, Mental health, Artificial intelligence, Guidance

Core Tip: As a nonstigmatized, highly effective, convenient, and cost-effective nonpharmacological intervention for mental health, physical activity holds enormous potential in relieving psychological stress and improving overall well-being. To further reveal the potential of physical activity and benefit a larger population with mental health issues, it is necessary to provide scientific guidelines for physical activity and enhance its adaptability and practicality based on respect for patient preferences.