Exercise, salivary cortisol, and perceived stress in American adolescents (pp. 99-105)
Authors: Shobhit Sharma and Natalie A Ceballos
Abstract: Recent United States government initiatives have focused on improving physical and emotional health in adolescents. As a healthy and effective means of coping with stress, exercise may be one key to achieving this goal. Objective: Our study focused on relationships between exercise, cortisol and perceived stress in adolescents attending a one-day, school-based health fair. Methods: Fifty-eight students (30 male) aged 14-18 years provided saliva samples and completed surveys about exercise and stress. Results: Although stress was lower overall for adolescents reporting a greater amount of weekly exercise, this correlation was stronger for perceived stress compared to cortisol. When males and females were compared separately, similar trends emerged, however results remained significant only for male participants. Conclusions: These findings suggest that exercise can have a beneficial physiological effect on healthy adolescents. However, the psychological effect of regular exercise may be even more significant. These results reinforce the need for health and physical activity programs for school-aged adolescents.