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I have always been quite sporty, and I tend to remain relatively calm and composed in emergency or high stress situations. From my personal experience, people who are quite sporty and have been in their youth tend to be more as well, and panic or freeze less fast than less sporty people.

I could imagine that doing a lot of exercise, and perhaps competitive sports, could make your body more used to adrenaline or cortisol and thus teach your body and mind to be calmer in such situations.

Or course, personal experience means very little (and admittedly, I have not even been in all that many "emergency" situations), and I may be somewhat biased. So is there any research that shows (or refutes) a relation between regular exercise (and/or having done a lot of exercise in your youth, or competitive sports) and a person's reaction to emergency or high stress situations?

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Check this out. Chapter 15 is what you are looking for. It is a study made in collaboration with the international federation of sport and medicine and talks about sport and fight or flight response (panic response). Click here

Kraemer, W. J., & Rogol, A. D. (Eds.). (2005). The endocrine system in sports and exercise. Blackwell Pub..

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    $\begingroup$ Cool. This seems to suggest indeed that being well-trained affects the adrenaline production. But I'm not a psychologist or medical professional myself, so I'm not entirely sure what that means. Will increased adrenaline production help you stay calm and composed or will it make you more likely to panic? Could you perhaps shortly summarize the relevant points of that chapter to the question? Then I could accept it as the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Lu Kas
    May 7 at 7:12

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