It is a well-known fact that fitness and well-being go hand in hand. But being in good shape also protects against the health problems that arise when we feel particularly stressed at work. As reported by sports scientists from the University of Basel and colleagues from Sweden, it therefore pays to stay physically active, especially during periods of high stress.
Psychosocial stress is one of the key factors leading to illness-related absences from work. This type of stress is accompanied by impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. It also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavorable blood lipid profile. Conversely, a high fitness level is associated with fewer depressive symptoms and fewer cardiovascular risk factors.
Fitness, risk factors, and self-perceived stress
The data from the study published in the US journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows that a high fitness level offers particularly effective protection for professionals who experience a high degree of stress in the workplace. To obtain this data, the researchers recorded the fitness levels of almost 200 Swedish employees – 51% men, mean age 39 years – using a so-called bicycle ergometer test. In addition, they measured various known cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, triglycerides and glycated hemoglobin. The participants were then asked to provide information on their current perception of stress.
As expected, the study conducted by the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Basel, the Institute of Stress Medicine, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg illustrates that stressed individuals exhibit higher values of most cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, it was confirmed that cardiovascular fitness is linked to virtually all risk factors, with the risk factors being less high in people who are physically fit.
Clinical cut-offs exceeded in unfit individuals
The researchers demonstrated for the first time that the relationship between the subjective perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated, so to speak, by fitness. In other words, among the stressed employees, there were particularly large differences between individuals with a high, medium, and low fitness level.
For example, when stress levels were high, the LDL cholesterol values exceeded the clinically relevant limit in employees with a low fitness level – but not in those with a high fitness level. By contrast, where the exposure to stress was low, far smaller differences were observed between fitness levels.
Promotion of an active lifestyle
“Above all, these findings are significant because it is precisely when people are stressed that they tend to engage in physical activity less often,” says Professor Markus Gerber of the University of Basel. Furthermore, he says that the study has direct implications for the therapy and treatment of stress-related disorders. To promote a physically active lifestyle, a high priority should be attached to the systematic measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness and the provision of theoretically sound and evidence-based physical activity counseling.
Markus Gerber, Mats Börjesson, Thomas Ljung, Magnus Lindwall, and Ingibjörg H. Jonsdottir
Fitness moderates the relationship between stress and cardiovascular risk factors
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2016), doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001005
Prof. Dr. Markus Gerber, University of Basel, Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Tel. +41 61 207 47 83, email: email@example.com
lic. phil. Christoph Dieffenbacher | Universität Basel
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy