This work examined 75 individuals who exercised and then exposed to a standard psychosocial stress test (the trier social stress test). Cortisol levels were also measured throughout, as a biomarker of stress. Outcomes of this testing indicated both that fitter individuals showed a reduced cortisol stress response during a psychosocial stress test, and that participating in a single exercise session can reduce this stress response.
“These results indicate that general fitness helps coping with a stressful situation, and also that a single bout of moderate exercise can help to reduce stress hormone output” said Dr Wood. Such research helps us understand how individuals cope with stressful situations, and the role of physical activity, in a time when society is increasingly becoming aware of the effects of stress on both health and wider society.
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The Translational Physiology Research Group investigates the effects of environmental stimuli on homeostasis, with a particular interest in physical activity, ageing and the environment.
Follow Dr Wood on Twitter @CarlyWood2906.