Effects of resistance exercise on the HPA axis response to psychological stress during short-term smoking abstinence in men

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of resistance exercise on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) response to mental challenge, withdrawal symptoms, urge to smoke, and cognitive stress during 24-hour smoking abstinence. Methods: 8 sedentary smokers (mean ± SD age: 20.1 ± 1.7 y; height: 171.6 ± 10.8. cm; body mass: 70.4 ± 12.0. kg; smoking history: 2.9 ± 0.8. y) completed a 24-hour ad libitum smoking trial (SMO) followed by two 24-hour smoking abstinence trials. During abstinence trials, participants performed six whole body resistance exercises (EX) or a control condition (CON) in the morning, followed by mental challenge tasks in the afternoon. Plasma adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), and salivary and serum cortisol were measured during each visit at rest (REST), and then before (PRE-EX), immediately after (IP-EX), and 30. min after exercise (30-EX); and before (PRE-MC), immediately after (IP-MC), and 30. min after mental challenge (30-MC). Results: Resistance exercise significantly (p. ≤. 0.05) elevated plasma ACTH and serum cortisol at IP-EX during EX compared with SMO and CON trials. Resting ACTH, salivary and serum cortisol concentrations at Pre-MC did not differ between EX and CON trials. The HPA axis response to mental challenge was similar after EX and CON trials. Finally, resistance exercise did not reduce withdrawal symptoms, urge to smoke, or stress. Conclusion: Resistance exercise did not substantially alter resting HPA hormones or the HPA response to mental challenge tasks during 24 h of smoking abstinence. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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Addictive Behaviors