University of Basel Study Reveals Active Kids Handle Stress Better

A recent study conducted by the University of Basel has found that children who engage in physical activity are more resilient to stress. The study involved 110 children between the ages of 10 and 13, who were subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test. This test is designed to place participants in stressful situations, such as reciting something to a jury after a brief preparation period and completing a math test where the task restarts after each mistake.

The findings revealed that children who exercised for more than 30 minutes a day produced less cortisol, the stress hormone, during the test compared to less active children. Additionally, the more active children reported feeling less stressed after the test. The results were published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

The researchers explained that cortisol levels naturally increase during physical activity. However, when children exercise regularly, their bodies learn to associate cortisol with positive feelings, preventing the stress hormone from rising to harmful levels during stressful situations. The study also emphasized that a stronger reaction to psychosocial stress in childhood could lead to psychological and physiological disorders later in life.