Among the many benefits of exercise is the way it helps you beat stress. But does that mean people who make a point of staying fit can handle stressful situations better? A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests there may be some truth to that assumption.
Researchers assigned 8 subjects with a below average level of fitness and 8 very fit subjects to cycle on a stationary bike for 37 minutes at 60% of capacity. For the next trial, these same volunteers were given complex metal problems to solve while cycling for 20 minutes. Not only did the dual task increase anxiety for the less fit subjects, compared to their in-shape counterparts they produced greater amounts of the catabolic hormone cortisol.
True Strength Moment: Why are active adults who exercise regularly better able to handle difficult situations? These are the kind of people who are used to setting and achieving ambitious goals, so that could be a factor. Whatever the reason, their hormonal response to exercise makes it easier to recover and come back for more.