New research reinforces link between good fitness and low stress levels

Brits with a higher degree of fitness have lower stress levels and spend more time in a recovery state, according to new research. Finnish physiological analytics firm Firstbeat gathered data from 4866 UK residents over 10 years to arrive at the results. 

The research found that nearly 60% of Brits with a “poor" fitness level agreed with the statement that “I generally feel stressed”, compared to just over 30% of those whose fitness level was described as “top level”.

Those with a poor fitness level spent barely 20% in a recovery state, compared to just under 30% of Brits with a top level of fitness.

The research data was gathered through heartbeat recordings captured with the Firstbeat Bodyguard 2 heart rate monitor. Participants were monitored round the clock.

Monitoring sleep patterns revealed that Friday and Saturday nights gave UK residents the best chance of extended sleep; seven hours 39 minutes and seven hours 46 minutes respectively.

However, more sleep does not necessarily equate to better recovery. The research showed that Friday and Saturday nights were also the least effective in terms of “recovery sleep”, with alcohol being a contributing factor.

Men were found to have a better “stress-recovery balance”, with women spending 50.3% of their day in a state of stress, compared to 45.6% of men. 

The percentage of the day spent in recovery is, however, similar, at 22.3% for men and 23.7% for men, giving women a poorer balance between the two.

On average, women got slightly more sleep than men, seven hours 34 minutes compared to seven hours 23 minutes. However, men demonstrate higher rates of recovery sleep, with this representing 54.5% of sleep for men, compared to 48.9% for women.