Associations of physical activity, fitness, and body composition with heart rate variability-based indicators of stress and recovery on workdays: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate how physical activity (PA), cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and body composition are associated with heart rate variability (HRV)-based indicators of stress and recovery on workdays. Additionally, we evaluated the association of objectively measured stress with self-reported burnout symptoms. Methods. Participants of this cross-sectional study were 81 healthy males (age range 26-40 y). Stress and recovery on workdays were measured objectively based on HRV recordings. CRF and anthropometry were assessed in laboratory conditions. The level of PA was based on a detailed PA interview (MET index [MET-h/d]) and self-reported activity class. Results: PA, CRF, and body composition were significantly associated with levels of stress and recovery on workdays. MET index (P < 0.001), activity class (P = 0.001), and CRF (P = 0.019) were negatively associated with stress during working hours whereas body fat percentage (P = 0.005) was positively associated. Overall, 27.5% of the variance of total stress on workdays (P = 0.001) was accounted for by PA, CRF, and body composition. Body fat percentage and body mass index were negatively associated with night-time recovery whereas CRF was positively associated. Objective work stress was associated (P = 0.003) with subjective burnout symptoms. Conclusions: PA, CRF, and body composition are associated with HRV-based stress and recovery levels, which needs to be taken into account in the measurement, prevention, and treatment of work-related stress. The HRV-based method used to determine work-related stress and recovery was associated with self-reported burnout symptoms, but more research on the clinical importance of the methodology is needed. © 2014Teisala et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Teisala, T., Mutikainen, S., Tolvanen, A., Rottensteiner, M., Leskinen, T., Kaprio, J., … Kujala, U. M. (2014). Associations of physical activity, fitness, and body composition with heart rate variability-based indicators of stress and recovery on workdays: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-6673-9-16

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