The best way to prevent the bad health consequences of work stress is exercise. Stress can be detrimental to your health, contributing to everything from higher blood pressure to nausea. Now, a new study zeroes in one of the the biggest sources of stress—our jobs—and suggests that exercise may be an effective way to ease the health problems sometimes caused by work stress.
Researchers found that the people who were more stressed had higher levels of risk factors for heart disease. But the people who were more fit were less likely to have these risk factors. That mean people with high stress levels had higher levels of unhealthy cholesterol compared to stressed people who were more fit. Exercise may act as a buffer against some of the health risk factors that are known to be caused by too much stress, the authors argue. Since the people in the study were asked about their stress levels in general, and not work stress alone, the study also speaks to exercise’s ability to combat the overall effects of stress.