Br J Sports Med 34:268-272 doi:10.1136/bjsm.34.4.268
  • Original article

Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques

  1. E E Solberg1,
  2. F Ingjer3,
  3. A Holen4,
  4. J Sundgot-Borgen3,
  5. S Nilsson5,
  6. I Holme2
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Life Insurance Companies' Institute for Medical Statistics, Ullevål University Hospital
  3. 3Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo
  4. 4Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
  5. 5Norwegian Institute of Sports Medicine, Oslo
  1. Correspondence to: Dr E E Solberg, Department of Medicine, Ullevål University Hospital, 0407 Oslo, Norway email: erik.solberg{at}
  • Accepted 24 February 2000


Objective—To compare the efficacy in runners of two relaxation techniques with regard to exercise reactivity and recovery after exercise.

Methods—Thirty one adult male runners were studied prospectively for six months in three groups practising either meditation (n = 11) or autogenic training (n = 11) or serving as controls (n = 10). Before and after the six months relaxation intervention, indicators of reactivity to exercise and metabolism after exercise (blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), and oxygen consumption (Vo2)), were tested immediately after and 10 minutes after exercise. Resting HR was also assessed weekly at home during the trial. State anxiety was measured before and after the intervention.

Results—After the relaxation training, blood lactate concentration after exercise was significantly (p<0.01) decreased in the meditation group compared with the control group. No difference was observed in lactate responses between the autogenic training group and the control group. There were no significant differences among the groups with regard to HR, Vo2, or levels of anxiety.

Conclusion—Meditation training may reduce the lactate response to a standardised exercise bout.