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Physiol Behav. 2019 Jan 1;198:90-95. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.10.013. Epub 2018 Oct 17.

Effects of psychological stress during exercise on markers of oxidative stress in young healthy, trained men.

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Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, United States. Electronic address:
Applied Physiology Lab, Department of Kinesiology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, United States.
Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, United States.
School of Health Studies, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, United States.



Those engaged in high stress occupations such as firefighters and military personnel are exposed to a variety of psychological and physiological stressors. The combination of mental and physical stress [i.e., dual stress challenges (DSC)] results in significant increases in stress hormones, which causes oxidative stress (OS) and contributes to elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. However, data are needed to determine the impact of DSC on markers of OS in exercise-trained individuals.


Fourteen healthy trained men aged 21-30 yrs. participated in a randomized, cross-over design to investigate the impact of DSC on blood markers of OS. The exercise alone condition (EA) consisted of 35 min of cycling at 60% V̇O2 peak. The DSC involved 20 min of mental stress challenges during exercise. Blood was sampled before exercise, as well as immediately, and 30 and 60 min after exercise and analyzed for glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP).


No significant treatment × time interactions were found. No time effects were noted for SOD, or H2O2; however, AOPP were reduced at 30 (p = .034) and 60 min post exercise (p = .006). GSH was reduced at 30 (p = .009) and 60 min post exercise (p = .031).


These results indicate the OS response from DSC is not greater than that produced from EA in exercise trained men. Future work should investigate the impact of chronic resistance and endurance exercise training on OS resulting from DSC.


Antioxidants; Cycling; Dual stress; Glutathione; Stressor

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