Even older people can train their heart and blood vessels with just two easy walks a week and thus considerably improve their endurance and coordination.
Regular walking is a particularly heart-friendly form of exercise that is also suitable for people over 60. The cardiovascular power of 50-150 watts applied during walking over several hours works the heart muscle and blood vessels. This increases the pumping capacity (cardiac output) of the heart, which maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels, the pulse and blood pressure, and therefore also the risk of cardiovascular disease.
OVER 60 YEARS OLD, MANY ARE OUT OF BREATH EVEN WITH LIGHT PHYSICAL EFFORT
Three quarters of people over 60 are out of breath even with light physical effort, for example when climbing stairs, shopping or doing simple household chores. People get out of breath more quickly with age, because the musculature degrades very quickly with the lack of exercise in old age and therefore the condition decreases more quickly. In addition, lack of exercise also tends to lead to an increase in body weight with age. Both of these circumstances place a great deal of stress on the heart, which also ages. To counteract this aging process, older adults should move more and train their hearts.
EVEN TWO SHORT WALKS A WEEK CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE PHYSICAL FITNESS
Even older adults who have not been active can significantly improve their endurance and coordination, reduce perceived exertion, lower their blood pressure and heart rate, and lose excess body weight by taking just two easy walks a week. This is the result of a study conducted by the Institute for Performance Diagnostics and Health Promotion e.V. (ILUG) of the University of Halle-Wittenberg.
The study participants took part twice a week for seven weeks in “walks for health”, which cover a relatively short distance (between 3.8 and 5.6 km), are interspersed with physiotherapeutic exercises (for movement coordination and muscle strengthening) and are offered by specially certified guides.
HIKING GROUPS AS A MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE MORE
Hiking is also well suited for older adults because it can be easily dosed. Inactive and athletic people should start with short distances and then increase the demands as needed. In addition to other positive physical effects (e.g. strengthening the immune system, strengthening muscles, ligaments and bones, stimulating metabolism, reducing excess weight), hiking is also good for the soul: movement in nature soothes, helps reduce stress and promotes contentment and well-being.
New impressions while hiking, social interactions and shared experiences also have a stimulating effect. In hiking groups it is also easy to make new contacts. It is precisely the group dynamics, but also the enjoyment of joint, not overcrowded, hikes that can effectively motivate older people to take more exercise and thus improve their heart health and general fitness.