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Psychosom Med. 1993 Jul-Aug;55(4):347-63.

Regular exercise and aerobic fitness in relation to psychological make-up and physiological stress reactivity.

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Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


This study assessed the association of aerobic fitness with psychological make-up and physiological stress-reactivity in a group of untrained men, as well as the effects of 4 and 8 months of exercise training on these parameters. Psychological assessment included questionnaires on personality (Neuroticism, Type A, Hostility), coping styles (Anger In, Anger Out), negative affect (Depression, Anxiety), and self-esteem. Stress reactivity was measured as the cardiovascular and urinary catecholamine response to two competitive reaction time tasks and the cold pressor test. No cross sectional relationships were found between aerobic fitness, defined as the maximal oxygen consumption during an exhaustive exercise test, and any of the psychological variables. In addition, psychological make-up did not change as a consequence of exercise training. In further contrast to our hypothesis, aerobic fitness was associated with high, rather than low, cardiovascular reactivity. Longitudinal effects of training were limited to a reduction in the overall levels of heart rate and diastolic blood pressure. This suggests that regular exercise does not increase the resistance to stress-related disease by influencing psychological make-up or acute psychophysiologic reactivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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