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Aerobic exercise intensity and time of stressor administration influence cardiovascular responses to psychological stress

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This study examined cardiovascular responses as a function of time following exercise in which participants were exposed to a laboratory stressor. Ninety (42 women) young (18–35 years old) nonsmoking normotensive participants engaged in 30 min of high and low intensity (75–80% and 50–55% VO2 max) aerobic exercise and a sedentary control condition. Participants were randomly assigned to a laboratory stressor 5, 30, or 60 min following the exercise bout. Results indicate that low and high intensity exercise significantly reduce heart rate (HR) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure reactivity and HR recovery values. An inverse relationship between intensity of exercise and subsequent cardiovascular reactivity was found. These findings suggest attenuated stress responses following acute exercise depend both on exercise intensity and the time of exposure to psychological stress following exercise.
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Keywords: Blood pressure; Cardiovascular reactivity; Exercise; Psychological stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Kinesiology and Health, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA 2: Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA 3: Department of Kinesiology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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