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Michele L. Hobson and W. Jack Rejeski

This investigation examined the role that different doses of acute aerobic exercise (AE) have on psychophysiological responses to mental stress. Eighty women participated in one of four experimental conditions: (a) attention control, (b) 10 min of exercise, (c) 25 min of exercise, or (d) 40 min of exercise. All exercise sessions were performed at 70% of each subject's heart rate reserve. Following each condition, subjects rested for 20 min and then completed a modified Stroop test. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were monitored at rest and during the stressor. Positive and negative affect were assessed upon entry to the laboratory, postexercise (after the 20-min rest), prior to the stressor, and after a 5-min recovery period. A priori comparisons of the 40-min exercise condition versus the attention control manipulation revealed that a demanding bout of acute AE lowered DBP and MAP reactivity to the Stroop; however, there were no significant linear trends between the dose of exercise and the extent of blood pressure (BP) reactivity. Analysis of the positive and negative affect data revealed no differences between any of the four treatment groups either prior to performing the Stroop task or following a 5-min period of recovery.

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Bradley D. Hatfield

perspective, is extended to a cascade of neural processes that serve to maintain a fundamental quality of skilled cognitive-motor performance (i.e., the minimization of effort) while performing under conditions of mental stress. In general, expert motor performance is characterized by attenuation of energy

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Karla A. Kubitz and Daniel M. Landers

This study examined the effects of an 8-week aerobic training program on cardiovascular responses to mental stress. Dependent variables included electrocardiographic activity, blood pressure, electroencephalographic (EEG) activity, state anxiety, and state anger. Quantification of indicators of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and central nervous system activity (i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia, T-wave amplitude, and EEG activity, respectively) allowed examination of possible underlying mechanisms. Subjects (n = 24) were randomly assigned to experimental (training) and control (no training) conditions. Pre- and posttesting examined cardiorespiratory fitness and responses to mental stress (i.e., Stroop and mental arithmetic tasks). MANOVAs identified a significant effect on cardiorespiratory fitness, heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and EEG alpha laterality. The results appear consistent with the hypothesis that enhanced parasympathetic nervous system activity and decreased central nervous system laterality serve as mechanisms underlying certain aerobic training effects.

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W. Jack Rejeski, Edward Gregg, Amy Thompson and Michael Berry

In this investigation, we examined the role of acute aerobic exercise (AE) in buffering physiological responses to mental stress. Twelve trained cyclists participated in three counterbalanced treatment conditions on separate days: attention control, light exercise (50% of VO2max for 30 min), and heavy exercise (80% of VO2max for 60 min). After a 30-min rest period following each condition, subjects completed a modified Stroop task. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored for (a) baseline responses, (b) task reactivity, and (c), 5 min of recovery following the stressor. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) revealed that reactivity was attenuated by both heavy- and light-exercise conditions as compared to responses in the control condition. Moreover, heavy exercise was more effective in reducing MAP reactivity than light exercise. Systolic BP during the task was significantly higher in the control and light-exercise conditions than following heavy exercise; diastolic BP was significantly higher in the control condition than in either exercise condition. There were no significant effects for HR. These results suggest that there is a dose-response relationship between acute AE and the attenuation of psychophysiological reactivity during stress.

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Haley Petterson and Bernadette L. Olson

Clinical Scenario:

Student athletes experience a variety of stressors from school and social activities, as well as the additional demands of sport participation. Mindfulness-based interventions can help increase mental awareness and acceptance, as well as mitigate negative thoughts and emotions. The use of mindfulness-based interventions may be beneficial for reducing thoughts of stress, injury reduction, and improving overall wellbeing.

Clinical Question:

Does the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes aged 13–24 years reduce stress and injury as well as improve overall quality of life?

Summary of Findings:

The literature was searched for studies that investigated the use of mindfulness-based strategies for student-athletes specifically for reducing stress and injury and/or improving quality of life. The literature search returned 8 possible studies related to the clinical question and 3 studies met the inclusion criteria (1 randomized control trial, 2 nonrandomized control cohort studies). All 3 included studies demonstrated overall improved levels of mindfulness among student-athletes after the use of a mindfulness-based intervention. Mindfulness-based interventions had positive effects for reducing negative thoughts and levels of perceived stress. The number of injury occurrences were found to decrease following the integration of a mindfulness-based intervention within an athletic population.

Clinical Bottom Line:

There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of mindfulness-based interventions with student-athletes for increasing mindfulness, managing negative emotions and perceived stress, as well as improving overall well-being. There is also current literature that advocates the use of mindfulness-based interventions for reducing injury, but further research is needed for support.

Strength of Recommendation:

Grade B evidence exists to support that the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes will reduce stress and improve overall well-being as well as support the possibility that if a student-athlete is more mindful, it may help decrease risk of injury incurred if the student-athlete is under mental stress.

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Sunita Potgieter, Hattie H. Wright and Carine Smith

gender difference: In their study, the combination of mental stress and caffeine intake resulted in only a small, transient cortisol response in women, but a larger, prolonged response in men. Thus, if mental stress was a significant factor during the triathlon races, this could account for the gender

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Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter and Jürgen Beckmann

.069476 30. Heidari J , Mierswa T , Kleinert J , et al . Parameters of low back pain chronicity among athletes: associations with physical and mental stress . Phys Ther Sport . 2016 ; 21 : 31 – 37 . PubMed doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.03.003 10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.03.003 27428532 31. Jaspers A , Brink

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Sarah Kölling, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Ranel Venter and Shona L. Halson

example, the high physical and mental stress imposed as part of normal athlete training and competition routines requires appropriate recovery time to facilitate adaptive processes. Given the role of sleep in metabolic, hormonal, and cognitive regeneration from daily activities when awake, 2 , 3

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Neil Maguire, Paul Chesterton and Cormac Ryan

. PubMed ID: 15094542 doi:10.1097/01.BRS.0000096176.92881.37 10.1097/01.BRS.0000096176.92881.37 2. Heidari J , Mierswa T , Kleinert J , et al . Parameters of low back pain chronicity among athletes: associations with physical and mental stress . Phys Ther Sport . 2016 ; 21 : 31 – 37 . PubMed

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Leigh Ann Ganzar, Nalini Ranjit, Debra Saxton and Deanna M. Hoelscher

Physical activity provides numerous health benefits for children by facilitating energy balance, 1 , 2 assisting in the prevention of chronic disease, 3 improving bone strength, 4 and reducing depression and mental stress. 5 The current guidelines in the United States for physical activity