Webb, H. E., Weldy, M. L., Fabianake, E. C., Orndorff, G. R., Starks, M. A., & Acevedo, E. O. (2002). Psychological stress, cardiorespiratory responses and decision making during exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(5), Supplement abstract 154.

Ss (N = 19) completed a randomized protocol consisting of two counter-balanced 30-min cycle ergometer rides at 65% VO2max. In the stress condition, Ss rode while participating in a psychologically stressful task (Stroop Color-Word Task and mental arithmetic) from 6 to 14 minutes into the exercise. The no-stress condition was to repeat the same physical task. From 15 to 23 minutes into the task in both conditions, Ss completed a decision-making task. Physiological and psychological measures were taken at 5, 14, 23, and 30 minutes during the exercise.

Heart rate, VE, Ve/VO2, and RR were significantly elevated during the stressful task. Overall, the stress task was perceived as being more stressful than the non-stress task. Decision-making was similar in both conditions.

Implication. Psychological stress during an activity has adverse cardiorespiratory effects.

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