Perceived fitness and responses to laboratory induced stress

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International Stress Management Association


This study sought to evaluate the contribution of perceived physical fitness beyond the contributions of gender, body mass index (BMI), and estimated actual physical fitness on both physiological and self-reported stress responsivity to laboratory induced stress. Seventy-two nonsymptomatic participants participated in the experiment. Participants completed a laboratory procedure measuring cardiovascular responses and self-reported rating of calmness while performing stressful laboratory tasks. Estimated aerobic fitness (VO2 max) as well as perceived fitness were also determined. Perceived fitness significantly contributed to the variance associated with self-reported responses to laboratory stress as well as with some of the physiological measures. Perceived fitness significantly added to the variance beyond that attributed to gender, body mass, and estimated actual physical fitness while assessing systolic blood pressure and calmness. Overall, the results support the view that perception of fitness may be an important factor above and beyond aerobic fitness in its association with responses to stress.