Preprint / Version 1

Influence of Deep End Fitness Training on Mental Health in Athletes


  • Rachel Cansler
  • Jerome Heidrich
  • Ali Whiting
  • Don Tran
  • Prime Hall
  • William Tyler IST



mental health, stress, performance, aquatic exercise, Resilience, fitness, training


Athletes experience unique physical and emotional stressors during training and competition that can deteriorate performance and mental health. Training apathy can lead to cognitive dissonance and further degrade performance by increasing maladaptive coping strategies. In the present study, we aimed to determine if a community-based aquatic training and underwater breath-hold training program can produce mental health benefits in a group of multi-sport athletes. We evaluated the influence of Deep End Fitness (DEF) training on several outcome measures of mental and emotional well-being in healthy, volunteer athletes. Compared to baseline measures, we observed that DEF training produced a significant increase in positive affect amongst the group of athletes. Measures of healthy coping were also improved following DEF training as indicated by a significant increase in the use of problem-focused coping strategies compared to baseline. Reflective of overall mental health improvements, we found DEF training significantly reduced depression, stress, and anxiety in the group of athletes studied. These results indicate Deep End Fitness is an effective community-based training modality for improving attitudes, coping, and mental health amongst athletic individuals.


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