Link Between Aerobic Fitness Level and Protection to Psychosocial Stress Found Using VivoSense®

Posted by Dudley Tabakin on February 14, 2017

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.

Fig.1 - HR before, during, and after the TSST-G among volunteers of high and low aerobic fitness. Values are presented as mean +/- SEM for each 2-min time intercal. The first quartile represents subjects of high aerobic fitnes; the fourth quatile represents subjects of low aerobix fitness. Each of the 15 time-segments in the figure represents data from all 219 subjects. HR: heart rate, TSST-G: Trier Social Stress Test for Groups

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.

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