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Olympic stress levels studied at Cambrian College

By: Heather Green-Oliver - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Feb 16, 2014 - 6:54 PM |
Students at Cambrian College were wired to heart rate monitors that recorded their stress levels as they watched the Canadian men's hockey game against Austria on Feb. 14. Photo by Heather Green-Oliver.

Students at Cambrian College were wired to heart rate monitors that recorded their stress levels as they watched the Canadian men's hockey game against Austria on Feb. 14. Photo by Heather Green-Oliver.

Reactions measured as students watch men's Olympic hockey

Some Cambrian College students were able to enjoy some Olympic action during class Feb. 14 -- but in the name of science.

The second-year students in the Physical Fitness Management program were wired to heart rate monitors, which recorded their stress levels during the Canadian men's hockey game against Austria.

Program coordinator Martin Dubuc wanted to measure their reactions to what they saw at the Sochi Games.

"We're trying to identify positive and negative stress," said Dubuc. "Although the body may react the same in different circumstances, there are differences."

For example, a positive stresser would be a wedding proposal, whereas negative stress would be triggered by being in a car accident.

Student Jesse Proctor said he experienced positive stress during the course of the game, particularly when Canada scored.

"My heart rate does go up when there are scoring chances," Proctor said. "My lowest rating was around 58 and the highest was around 85 beats per minute."

"We may find some students not reacting at all," said Dubuc. "It all depends on how emotionally invested they are into the event."

Although the game didn't prove to be much of a nail bitter -- Canada beat Austria 6-0 -- Dubuc said the results would be significantly different if it were a high-stakes game. For instance, stress levels would have been high for Team Canada fans when Sidney Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal in overtime against the U.S. at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

"This is a win-win for everybody," Dubuc said. "We're learning but we also get to watch the game at the same time."

@hgreenoliver 
Heather Green-Oliver

Heather Green-Oliver

Staff Writer

@HGreenOliver

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