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Physical fitness and prior physical activity are both associated with less cortisol secretion during psychosocial stress

Wood, Carly J and Clow, Angela and Hucklebridge, Frank and Law, Robin and Smyth, Nina (2018) 'Physical fitness and prior physical activity are both associated with less cortisol secretion during psychosocial stress.' Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 31 (2). 135 - 145. ISSN 1061-5806

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Abstract

Background: Evidence linking fitness and decreased psychosocial stress comes from studies of athletes and typically relies upon self-report measures. Furthermore, there is little evidence regarding the impact of physical activity (PA) prior to a stressor. The aims of this study were to determine whether fitness and prior PA influence cortisol concentrations during psychosocial stress. Methods: Seventy-five non-athletic participants took part in a submaximal walk prior to the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G). During the walk, fitness was assessed using heart rate (HR). A further 89 participants took part in the TSST-G without the walk. Stress responsiveness was assessed using salivary cortisol collected at 10-min intervals on seven occasions. Results: Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that average walking HR accounted for 9% of the variance in cortisol secretion (P = .016), where a higher HR was associated with higher cortisol secretion. Between-subjects ANCOVA revealed that the walking group had a significantly lower cortisol secretion than the non-walking group (P = .009). Conclusions: These findings indicate that fitter individuals have reduced cortisol secretion during psychosocial stress. They also indicate that prior PA can reduce cortisol concentrations during psychosocial stress and are suggestive of a role of PA in reducing the impact of stress on health.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fitness, psychosocial stress, physical activity, cortisol, health
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2021 13:49
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2021 13:49
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29737

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