Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen used VivoSense® Software to study the link between physical activity and its ability to improve resistance to psychosocial stress.

The relation between physical activity and better response to stress is based on the similar bodily reaction to stress and physical activity. With the two creating similar physiological reaction in the body, physical exercise is believed to be a cross-adaption to psychological stress.  Therefore, those who exercise regularly will have less of an Automatic Nervous System reaction to psychosocial stress. To test this hypothesis, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute investigated the role of physical fitness level on the ANS (heart rate and salivary alpha amylase) responses to acute psychosocial stress.

Participants were screened and characterized into quartiles based on their physical fitness level. They found that Heart Rate and Salivary Alpha Amylase (physical reactions to stress in the body) was dependent on the participant’s physical fitness level. The authors state that “Cardiovascular fitness remains a significant predictor variable, even when controlled for the most important influencing factors to individual stress reactions.” Given these findings, the researchers suggest employers should support physical endurance training for their staff that have mentally and physically demanding jobs.

Aerobic Fitness Level Affects Cardiovascular and Salivary Alpha Amylase Responses to Acute Psychosocial Stress
Wyss, Thomas et al. 2016, Sports Medicine.