Saliva cortisol, physical exercise and training: influences of swimming and handball on cortisol concentrations in women

Abstract

The aim of this study was to observe the influence of physical exercise and training on saliva cortisol concentrations in women. Three groups of adult women were studied: one group of sedentary controls (n = 7) and two groups of sportswomen who competed in either handball (n = 14) or swimming (n = 10) at a national level. These sportswomen gave six saliva samples during a day that included exercise which was part of their annual training programme. We noticed a significant increase in saliva cortisol concentration after exercise in the handball players (6 p.m. vs 7.30 p.m. P < 0.05) which did not appear in the swimmers or the sedentary group. There was no difference between the sedentary group and the swimmers for each sample of the day. These results showed that the type of sport played seemed to influence the concentration of saliva cortisol, the type of stress involved, the respective haemodynamic conditions of swimming and running and thermal stress also playing a part. Moreover, it seemed that the level of performance influenced the secretion of cortisol in the saliva.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alen M, Pakarinen A, Hakkinen K, Komi PV (1988) Responses of serum androgenic-anabolic and catabolic hormones to prolonged strength training. Int J Sports Med 9:229–233

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Barron JL, Noakes D, Levy W, Smith C, Milliar P (1985) Hypothalamic dysfunction in overtrained athletes. J Clin Endocrin Metab 60:803–806

    Google Scholar 

  3. Creff AF (1988) Réponses hormonales à l'activité physique. Med Sport 62:72–78

    Google Scholar 

  4. Fellmann N, Bedu M, Giry J, Pharmakis-Amadieu M, Bezou MJ, Barlet JP, Coudert J (1989) Hormonal, fluid and electrolyte changes during a 72 h recovery from 24 h endurance run. Int J Sports Med 10:406–412

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Fiet J, Passa Ph, Guechot J, Gourmel B, Villette JM, Cathelineau G (1981) Intérêt du dosage du cortisol dans la salive (abstract) Nouv Presse Méd 10:2664

    Google Scholar 

  6. Flynn MG, Pizza FX, Boome JB, Andres FF, Michaud TA, Rodriguez-Zayas RJ (1994) Indices of training stress during competitive running and swimming seasons. Int J Sports Med 15:21–26

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Frenkl R, Csalag (1962) Effect of regular muscular activity on adrenocortical function in rats. J Sport Med Phys Fitness 2:207

    Google Scholar 

  8. Galbo H (1993) Hormonal and metabolic adaptations to exercise. Thieme, Stuttgart

    Google Scholar 

  9. Gharib C, Vincent N, Annat G, Allevard AM, Geelen G, Geyssant A, Eclache JP, Lacour R, Bizollon CA (1981) Activité rénine et aldosterone plasmatiques an cents d'un exercise submaximal. Effets de l'entraînement. J Physiol (Paris) 77:911–914

    Google Scholar 

  10. Guezennec CY, Defer G, Carzola G, Sabathier C, Lhoste F (1986) Plasma renin activity, aldosterone and catecholamine levels when swimming and running. Eur J Appl Physiol 54:632–637

    Google Scholar 

  11. Guezennec CY, Olivier C, Lienhard F, Seyfried D, Huet Fet Pesce G (1992) Hormonal and metabolic response to a pistol shooting competition. Science sports 7:27–32

    Google Scholar 

  12. Häkkinen P, Parakinen A, Alen M, Kauhanen H, Komi PV (1988) Daily hormonal and neuromuscular responses to intensive strength training in 1 week. Int J Sports Med 9:422–428

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Hartley LH, Mason JW, Hogan RP, Jones LG, Kotchen TA, Mougey EH, Wherry FE, Pennington LL, Ricketts PT (1972) Multiple hormonal response to graded exercise in relation to physical training. J Appl Physiol 35:602–605

    Google Scholar 

  14. Kindermann W, Schnabel A, Schmitt WM, Biro G, Cassens J, Weber F (1982) Catecholamines, growth hormone, cortisol, insulin and sex hormones in anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 49:389–399

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kirwan JP, Costill D, Flynn M (1988) Physiological responses to successive days of intensive training in competitive s7wimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 20:255–259

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Künstlinger U, Lugwig HG, Stegeman J (1987) Metabolic changes during volley ball matches. Int J Sports Med 8:315–322

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Kuoppasalmi K, Näveri H, Härkönen M, Adlercreutz H (1980) Plasma cortisol, androstenedione, testosterone and LH in running exercise of different intensities. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 40:403–409

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Lac G, Lac N, Robert A (1993a) Steroid assays in saliva: a method to detect plasmatic contaminations. Arch Physiol Biochem Biophys 101:257–262

    Google Scholar 

  19. Lac G, Lac N, Robert A (1993b) Cortisol salivaire et activity sportive. Références particuliéres à l'enfant. Les Notes Scientifiques et Techniques de l'INRS, pp 55–67

  20. Lenz T, Weiss M, Werie E (1988) Influence of exercise in water on hormonal metabolic and adregenic receptor changes in man. Int J Sports Med [Suppl] 9:125–131

    Google Scholar 

  21. Lukaszewska J, Wojcieszak I (1976) The effect of maximal exercise on plasma cortisol level in sportsmen. Wych Fiz Sport XX:22

    Google Scholar 

  22. Nielsen B, Spogard G, Bonde-Petersen F (1984) Cardiovascular, hormonal and body fluid changes during prolonged exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 53:63–70

    Google Scholar 

  23. Raczynska B, Lukaszewska J, Wojcieszak I, Starosta A (1980) Influence de l'effort physique sur la sécretion du cortisol chez les sportifs de différentes disciplines. Med Sport T54:204–212

    Google Scholar 

  24. Seidman DS, Dolev E, Denster PA, Burstein R, Arnon R, Epstein Y (1990) Androgenic response to long-term physical training in male subjects. Int J Sports Med 11:421–424

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Snegovskaya V, Viru A (1993) Elevation of cortisol and growth hormone levels in the course of further improvement of performance capacity in trained rowers. Int J Sports Med 14:202–206

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Stray-Gundersen, Videman T, Snell P (1986) Changes in selected objective parameters during overtraining. Med Sci Sports Exerc 18:S54-S55

    Google Scholar 

  27. Tabata I, Atomi Y, Mutoh Y, Miyashita M (1990) Effect of physical training on responses of serum adrenocorticotropic hormone during prolonged exhausting exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 61:188–192

    Google Scholar 

  28. Tharp GD, Buuck RJ (1974) Adrenal adaptation to chronic exercise. J Appl Physiol 37:720–722

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Urhausen A, Kullmer T, Kindermann W (1987) A 7-week follow up study of the behaviour of testosterone and cortisol during the competition period in rowers. Eur J Appl Physiol 56:528–533

    Google Scholar 

  30. Ursin H (1980) Personality, activation and somatic health. Nato Conference series, pp 259–280

  31. Vervoon C, Quist L, Vermust L, de Vries W, Thijssen J (1991) The behaviour of the plasma free testosterone/cortisol ratio during a season of elite rowing training. Int J Sports Med 12:257–263

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Villanueva D, Magnani C, Ghini T (1986) Increased cortisol production in women runners. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 63:133

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Viru A (1992) Plasma hormones and physical exercise. Int J Sports Med 13:201–203

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Voigt K, Ziegler M, Fuchs M, Bickel U (1990) Hormonal responses to exhausting physical exercise: the role of predictability and controllability of the situation. Psychoneuroendocrinology 15:173–184

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to P. Duché.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Filaire, E., Duché, P., Lac, G. et al. Saliva cortisol, physical exercise and training: influences of swimming and handball on cortisol concentrations in women. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 74, 274–278 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00377450

Download citation

Key words

  • Saliva cortisol
  • Physical exercise Training
  • Swimming
  • Handball