Association of Aerobic Fitness with Pulse Rate and Subjective Responses to Psychological Stress

David S. Holmes, David L. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ten high fit and 10 low fit subjects first sat quietly during a baseline period and then participated in a mildly stressful task (recall of digits backwards). Pulse rates and levels of subjective arousal were assessed during the baseline period and during the task performance period. Initial analyses indicated that task performance resulted in general increases in pulse rates, subjective cognitive arousal, and subjective somatic arousal. More importantly, it was found that high fit subjects evinced a smaller pulse rate increase in response to stress than did low fit subjects, but the high and low fit subjects did not differ in their subjective responses to stress. These results are consistent with a growing body of research which indicates that a high level of aerobic fitness is associated with reduced physiological reactivity to psychological stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-529
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic fitness
  • Arousal
  • Pulse rate
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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