Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Promotion and Human Performance

Committee Member

Catherine Gammon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chris Herman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joan Cowdery, Ph.D.


Young adults (18-24 years) are only slightly older than adolescents but are encouraged to follow adult physical activity (PA) guidelines. PA guidelines for adults do not specifically recommend regular vigorous-intensity PA (VPA), unlike guidelines for adolescents. This thesis aimed to conduct a systematic review to ascertain the influence of VPA on anxiety, body mass index [BMI], and blood pressure [BP] in young adults. Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, CINHAL, and MEDLINE. After applying inclusion/exclusion criteria and removing duplicates, 21 studies were reviewed (6 for anxiety, 10 for BMI, 8 for BP). The reviewed studies indicate that VPA can reduce BMI and BP in young adults (although the findings were heterogeneous). The effect of VPA on anxiety was unclear. Evidence on the benefits of VPA for young adults is limited and the findings are inconsistent. Further research is needed to determine whether VPA should be specifically recommended to young adults.