Aerobic exercise for acute stress management
Research has continued to support the link between heightened blood pressure (BP) in response to psychosocial stress. An intervention proposed to manage stress is aerobic exercise
A research paper looked at 15 studies involving and acute bout of aerobic exercise followed by a stress test compared to a no exercise control condition. There was a total of 496 participants ranging between 17-60 years old.
Stressor test used
Most studies used the Stroop Test (the test where the you need to say the colour of the word, but not what the word is saying e.g for the word YELLOW you would need to say “red”, here is a link to the test: https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/java/ready.html). The time between exercise and taking the stressor test was between 10 minutes and 24 hours.
- Intensity ranged between 50-100%, 10minutes to 2 hours, using exercycle, treadmill or aerobic dance class.
The difference in blood pressure response between exercise and control conditions was -3.7mmHg for systolic and -3.0mmHg for diastolic blood pressure.
What does that mean?
Going for a jog or cycle (aerobic exercise) can help your heart tolerate stress easier. Exercise reduces the response of the heart to stress, this is possibly due to a decrease of blood flow resistance through our system afterwards
In essence if a stressful situation is coming up within a day go for a run >10minutes
Reference: Hamer et al. (2005) The effect of acute aerobic exercise on stress related blood pressure responses: A systematic review and meta-analysis