SPEER – The effectiveness of sport on stress resilience in untrained subjects

It is known that physical activity has a positive influence on chronic stress, and recent research suggests a link between physical fitness and psychological resilience: Recent animal experiments show that physical activity significantly influences the degradation of the tryptophan pathway and induces the expression of kynurenine aminotransferases, thereby achieving a metabolite profile that causes increased stress resilience. Interestingly, recent human studies so far do not provide supporting evidence. The SPEER study is a randomized controlled sport intervention study that primarily focuses on the effect of an 8-week internet-based training intervention on a) the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), b) acute stress responses to a psychological stress paradigm on an endocrine (salivary cortisol levels) and subjective level (affective state rating), and c) emotion regulation abilities.

The SPEER study thereby contributes to resilience research by investigating inter- and intraindividual differences in the effect of a sport intervention on both, physical fitness (physiological and blood parameters) as well as psychological parameters (acute stress reactivity and emotion regulation).

Duration of study:
July 2019, still ongoing

Project C05 of the SFB1193 "Neurobiology of resilience", German Research Foundation
Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation Fund

Prof. Dr. Michèle Wessa (principal investigator),
M. Sc. Peter Zeier,
M. Sc. Magdalena Sandner

In association with the Institute for Sports Science and Sportmedicine (Prof. Dr. Dr. Perikles Simon), the Institute for Physiological Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Beat Lutz), and the University Medical Center: Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (Prof. Dr. Klaus Lieb)