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The role of sport and exercise on mental health

Raise awareness about the importance of sport, exercise and physical activity on mental health

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CIVIS focus area
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Medicine and Health
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
2 October - 15 December 2023
Warning: The dates for the physical mobility part have changed. The physical mobility part will take place from 2 to 6 October 2023, instead of 25 to 29 September.

MHSPA proposal is submitted within the frames of the entrenched relation between PA/sport and mental health as well as the numerous reports supporting that physical exercise enhances the therapeutic scheme for people suffering from some type of mental disorders.

The proposed course also aims to add on another concept in this process of raising awareness about the importance of PA on mental health, and further validate the connection by developing specialized training frameworks, which will aim to provide physical education, sport science, psychology, and physiotherapy students with the required skills to engage in mental health units as well as in further relevant exercise and sport settings.

Main topics addressed

  • Understanding Mental Health Issues
  • Physical Activity/Exercise/Sport and Mental Health
  • Motives and Barriers toward Exercise in Mental Illness
  • Age, gender and cultural issues related to PA/Exercise/Sport and Mental Health 

Learning outcomes

  • Know the current most accepted concepts of mental health and mental disorders
  • Know about the stages of different mental illnesses
  • Promote respect of people with mental illnesses
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the links between PA/exercise and each mental health condition (such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, etc)
  • Understand some of the proposed theories of why exercise benefits mental health
  • Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy practices in the field of sport and exercise
  • Learn the role of motivation in exercise participation
  • Learn the motive characteristics and types in mentally ill exercise participants
  • Design intervention programs to prevent mental disorders and promote mental health according to age, gender, cultural background, and socio-familiar conditions
  • Recommend physical activity and exercise to patients with different mental health conditions
Dates: 2 October - 15 December 2023 Total workload: 75 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Location: Athens, Greece Language: English (B2) 

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

Warning: The dates for the physical mobility part have changed. The physical mobility part will take place from 2 to 6 October 2023, instead of 25 to 29 September.

The physical mobility part will be running from 2 to 6 October 2023. Selected students will travel to Athens, Greece at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where students will attend (interactive) lectures and take part in seminars. They will also be expected to present the results of their case-studies during the week. Social events will be planned throughout the week in Athens.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Mental health, mental health disorders and treatment
  • Physical activity and health
  • Anxiety, depression and physical activity
  • Eating disorders in exercise and sport
  • Preventing mental health issues in sport: from burnout to depression
  • Why do (not) people practice PA? Theories of motivation
  • How to start, and maintain a regular PA pattern: self-motivation, adherence, witdrawall prevention
  • Age and gender issues related to physical activity/exercise/sport and mental health

Virtual part

The virtual mobility program will combine face-to-face teaching with online asynchronous sessions, which allows an optimal usage of teaching approaches such as flipped learning, research-based teaching and teamwork.

From 9 October 2023 to 15 December 2023, the module will cover the program’s second theoretical part. The virtual component will consist of six meetings, distributed in 10 weeks, 2-5 hours per week. The total amount of teaching will be 49 hours. 23 hours of them will be dedicating to lecturing whereas 26 hours will be dedicating to individual work. Students will be able to find all necessary module information such as power point presenations, case studies, bibliography, and video presentations. Direct links to information sources will also be provided.

  • Week 9 - 13 October 2023, Subject: Mental health in a socio-cultural conext
  • Week 23 - 27 October 2023, Subject: Cultural issues related to PA/exercise/sport and mental health
  • Week 6 - 10 November 2023, Subject: Cognitive functioning, psychoses and PA
  • Week 20 - 24 November 2023, Subject: Vigorexia and exercise addiction
  • Week 4 - 8 December 2023, Subject: Social benefits of practicing physical activity and sports
  • Week 11 - 15 December 2023, Subject: Barriers Toward PA Involvement


No prerequisites are necessary, only interest in the content of the course. The course is open to Bachelor's and Master's students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in the following fields of study or related: Physical Education, Sport Science, Psychology, Physical Therapy.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2023.

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Level of English
  • Past relevant experience
  • Diversity of backgrounds

Apply now


Each main topic of the course will be assessed by two separate methods: an essay and a written exam.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

  • Maria Psychountaki, Professor Psychology, Sport Psychologist
  • Nektarios Stavrou, Associate Professor of Sport Psychologist
  • Emmanouil Skordilis, Professor of Adapted Physical Education
  • Konstantinos Karteroliotis, Professor of Research Methodology
  • Antonios Politis, Professor of Pychiatry
  • Associate Professor Maria Koskolou

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  • Gorden Sudeck, Professor of Sport Science with focus on Health Education
  • Katrin Giel, Professor of Psychiatry

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • Victor Rubio, Professor of Psychology

Université libre de Bruxelles

  • Jennifer Foucart, Professor of Psychology