Exaggerated cardiobascular reactivity to mental stressors may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. To determine if participation in a moderate intensity aerobic exercise training program reduces cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stressors, 40 sedentary middle-aged males were randomly assigned: training group (n = 25) and control group (n = 15). Cardiovascular reactivity during and after three mental stressors (passive responding, push-button Stroop and verbal Stroop) and mild exercise (bicycle ergometer) was assessed before and after an 8-week intervention. VO2 peak was determined using the Balke protocol. Among 19 subjects who completed the training, VO2 peak increased 13.7%. Also, trained compared to untrained subjects showed significant reductions in baseline and absolute heart rate responses to all stressors. Baseline adjusted heart rates were significantly lower during push-button Stroop recovery and during verbal Stroop. Blood pressure, T-wave amplitude, finger pulse amplitude and pulse transit time responses were unaffected by exercise training. It was concluded that participation in a short-term, moderate intensity aerobic exercise training program may have a cardioprotective effect by significantly reducing absolute and baseline-adjusted heart rate responses to stressors.
- Aerobic exercise training
- Cardiovascular reactivity
- Heart rate response
- Mental stressor
- Non-invasive cardiovascular measure