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01.02.2015 | Originalien | Ausgabe 2/2015

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 2/2015

Effect of weekly hiking on cardiovascular risk factors in the elderly

Zeitschrift:
Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie > Ausgabe 2/2015
Autoren:
PhD H. Gatterer, C. Raab, S. Pramsohler, M. Faulhaber, M. Burtscher, N. Netzer

Abstract

Background

Hiking is one of the most popular activities among the elderly in Alpine regions. Due to the long-lasting, moderately intensive nature of this form of physical activity, hiking is generally considered to be beneficial to health. However, it is currently unclear whether once-weekly hiking—as commonly practiced at weekends—really does yield such positive effects in elderly persons aged 60 years and over.

Objectives

This study investigated the effect of a single weekly mountain hiking session on cardiovascular risk factors.

Materials and methods

A 9-month mountain hiking program was completed by 14 male (age 65.6 ± 2.7 years) and 10 female (age 66.2 ± 4.4 years) elderly participants. The program consisted of a single weekly hiking session with the goal of achieving a 500-m altitude increase within 3 h. Before and after the 9-month program, an electrocardiogram (ECG) was performed and blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), high-density (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) measurements were made.

Results

The elderly participants showed a normal cardiovascular risk profile at the start of the investigation. The estimated net energy expenditure for one hiking session was approximately 521 ± 91 kcal. Over the 9-month period, no changes were found in any of the investigated parameters for the entire group. However, participants with untreated hypertension showed a reduced systolic blood pressure.

Conclusion

The present investigation showed that moderate-intensity activity only at weekends does not improve cardiovascular risk factors in elderly persons with a relatively normal cardiovascular risk profile. Conversely, elderly persons suffering from hypertension might profit from such a practice.

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Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie

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Originalien

Age-Wohnmatrix