A pilot study : high intensity intermittent training to combat chronic stress in the New Zealand Police : a Master's thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Sport and Exercise at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Background: Stress is increasingly being reported to be associated with immunosuppression, disease progression and psychological illness (Sergerstrom & Miller, 2004). Police are considered to be employed in a highly stressful occupation and due to this are at a heightened risk for developing negative chronic stress related disorders (de Terte & Stephens, 2014). There are known strategies to combat stress such as exercise. However, in moderately active individuals a more vigorous exercise programme is needed to reduce the effects of stress. High intensity intermittent training (HIIT) could be a potential stress reducing mechanism especially due to its success in treating obesity, weight loss and cardiac issues (Gibala, Little, MacDonald, & Hawley, 2012; Schoenfeld & Dawes, 2009). Aim: To see the effects of HIIT on chronic stress indices in the New Zealand Police. Method: Using three single case studies, this study employed a 10-week HIIT intervention measuring markers of stress such as Perceived Stress Scale scores, cortisol levels and associated blood immune markers at baseline and postintervention. Results: Chronically stressed police officers displayed high perceived stress scale scores and compromised immune functioning due to decreased cortisol secretion and increased eosinophil count. Post-intervention decreased perceived stress, normalised cortisol levels and reduced immune inflammation markers. Conclusion: High Intensity intermittent training decreases perceived chronic stress while also providing further evidence for the relationship between systemic inflammation and mental disease.
Aerobic exercises, Psychological aspects, Stress management, Exercise therapy, Police, Job stress, Health and hygiene, New Zealand, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology::Applied psychology