The influence of perceived versus aerobic fitness on psychological health and physiological stress responsivity

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International Stress Management Association


This study sought to evaluate the association between perceived and aerobic physical fitness and both psychological functioning and physiological stress responsivity. Sixty nonsymptomatic participants (30 males, 30 females) participated in the experiment. Participants completed a series of personality and mood questionnaires as well as a laboratory procedure measuring cardiovascular responses (i.e., heart rate and blood pressure) while performing stressful laboratory tasks (i.e., the Stroop Color Naming Test and a sham IQ test). Aerobic fitness (i.e., VO2max using the Bruce protocol) as well as perceived fitness were also determined. Results suggest that perceived fitness was generally associated with positive personality and mood variables while aerobic fitness was not. Overall results support the view that perception of fitness may be as important or perhaps even more important than aerobic fitness in its association with psychological but perhaps not physical functioning.