Impact of Physical Activity and Stress on Academic Performance of MBBS Students of Rawalpindi Medical University


  •   Shahzaib Maqbool

  •   Hafiz Abu Safian

  •   Haider Mubeen

  •   Laraib Arsh

  •   Muhammad Sarfraz Khan

  •   Omaima Sundus


Trend of getting medical education is increasing day by day in our society. Our tough educational system and intricate pattern of medical education is rendering the medical students to become more stressed and physically inactive affecting directly or indirectly their academic achievements and deteriorating their cognitive and learning skills. The purpose of our study is to evaluate how physical activity and stress level affect academic performance of medical students.  It is a descriptive cross-sectional study with sample size of 304. The study population was from all the five years of MBBS in Rawalpindi Medical University. The study duration was 1-month. Data collection was done through International physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ) and through perceived stress scale (PSS). Analysis was done through SPSS V. 23. The gender and academic performance are showing   significant association with females being on high achievers’ side as compared to males. The physical activity and gender association was also significant with males being physically more active. However, the association of academic performance with stress level and physical activity was not significant with (P-value >0.005). PSS-score between high achiever and low achiever was not significant with (P-value = 0.187) and confidence interval of 95%. However, Pearson's correlation between IPAQ score and academic performance was significant with (P-value = 0.036), It was negative showing that high IPAQ score Correlates with low academic performance. Male students were physically more active, obtaining relatively less percentage academically with less preponderance towards high level of stress as compared to female students.

Keywords: Academic performance, Physical activity, Stress.


Shah, M., et al., Perceived stress, sources and severity of stress among medical undergraduates in a Pakistani medical school. BMC medical education, 2010. 10(1): p. 2.

Ortega, F.B., et al., Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health. International journal of obesity, 2008. 32(1): p. 1-11.

Yu, C.C.W., et al., Are physical activity and academic performance compatible? Academic achievement, conduct, physical activity and self‐esteem of Hong Kong Chinese primary school children. Educational Studies, 2006. 32(4): p. 331-341.

Brisswalter, J., M. Collardeau, and A. René, Effects of acute physical exercise characteristics on cognitive performance. Sports Med, 2002. 32(9): p. 555-66.

Mandolesi, L., et al., Effects of physical exercise on cognitive functioning and wellbeing: biological and psychological benefits. Frontiers in psychology, 2018. 9: p. 509.

Strine, T.W., L.S. Balluz, and E.S. Ford, The associations between smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, and asthma severity in the general US population. Journal of Asthma, 2007. 44(8): p. 651-658.

Anuradha, R., et al., Stress and stressors among medical undergraduate students: A cross-sectional study in a private medical college in Tamil Nadu. Indian journal of community medicine: official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, 2017. 42(4): p. 222.

Shephard, R.J., Curricular physical activity and academic performance. Pediatric exercise science, 1997. 9(2): p. 113-126.

Sallis, J.F., et al., Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: Project SPARK. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 1999. 70(2): p. 127-134.

Mannapur, B., et al., A study of psychological stress in undergraduate medical students at SN Medical College, Bagalkot, Karnataka. J Clin Diagn Res, 2010. 4(04): p. 2869-2874.

Dahlin, M., N. Joneborg, and B. Runeson, Stress and depression among medical students: A cross‐sectional study. Medical education, 2005. 39(6): p. 594-604.

Tyssen, R., et al., Suicidal ideation among medical students and young physicians: a nationwide and prospective study of prevalence and predictors. Journal of affective disorders, 2001. 64(1): p. 69-79.

Silver, H.K. and A.D. Glicken, Medical student abuse: incidence, severity, and significance. Jama, 1990. 263(4): p. 527-532.

Niemi, P.M. and P.T. Vainiomäki, Medical students' academic distress, coping, and achievement strategies during the preclinical years. Teaching and learning in medicine, 1999. 11(3): p. 125-134.

Arnsten, A.F., Stress signalling pathways that impair prefrontal cortex structure and function. Nature reviews neuroscience, 2009. 10(6): p. 410-422.

Yousafzai, A.W., et al., Well-being of medical students and their awareness on substance misuse: a cross-sectional survey in Pakistan. Annals of general psychiatry, 2009. 8(1): p. 8.

Craig, C.L., et al., International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Medicine & science in sports & exercise, 2003. 35(8): p. 1381-1395.

Cohen, S., T. Kamarck, and R. Mermelstein, A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of health and social behavior, 1983: p. 385-396.

Dorfman, J.C., Associations between physical fitness and academic achievement: A meditational analysis. 2015: University of North Texas.

Donnelly, J.E. and K. Lambourne, Classroom-based physical activity, cognition, and academic achievement. Preventive medicine, 2011. 52: p. S36-S42.

Whitaker Sena, J.D., P.A. Lowe, and S.W. Lee, Significant predictors of test anxiety among students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of learning disabilities, 2007. 40(4): p. 360-376.

Siraj, H.H., et al., Stress and its association with the academic performance of undergraduate fourth year medical students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. IIUM Medical Journal Malaysia, 2014. 13(1).

Yusoff, M.S., et al., Prevalence and associated factors of stress, anxiety and depression among prospective medical students. Asian J Psychiatr, 2013. 6(2): p. 128-33.

Abdulghani, H.M., Stress and depression among medical students: A cross sectional study at a medical college in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 2008. 24(1): p. 12.

Firth, J., Levels and sources of stress in medical students. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed), 1986. 292(6529): p. 1177-1180.

Entwistle, N.J., J. Thompson, and J.D. Wilson, Motivation and study habits. Higher Education, 1974. 3(4): p. 379-396.


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite
Maqbool, S., Safian, H. A., Mubeen, H., Arsh, L., Khan, M. S., & Sundus, O. (2020). Impact of Physical Activity and Stress on Academic Performance of MBBS Students of Rawalpindi Medical University. European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 2(5).