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Taking a hike is officially good for health

The Local · 30 Apr 2012, 11:07

Published: 30 Apr 2012 11:07 GMT+02:00

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Researchers at the University of Halle-Wittenberg measured the impact of twice-weekly hikes on 18 professionals, with an average age of 54, against their counterparts who performed no such exercise.

After seven weeks, the programme, which combined hiking with coordination and relaxation exercises, had a significant positive impact on weight, Body Mass Index, blood pressure and general levels of stamina.

The study was developed with the help of the German Hiking Association and the physiotherapy department of Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences,Die Welt reported on Sunday.

Christine Merkel, from the Hiking Association, explained how the project worked. “The hikes were set at an hour and a half,” she said, explaining that the distance of each walk varied from 3.7 to 5.8 km depending on the terrain covered.

Participants spent an hour of each period walking, with the remaining 30 minutes devoted to various physiotherapy exercises, including loosening the shoulder muscles, standing on one leg, and balancing a cane on their feet. They were also offered professional tips on a healthy lifestyle.

The physical condition of the hikers and the control group was measured before the study and again after the seven weeks had elapsed. Whilst the control group showed no changes, the hikers demonstrated markedly different results.

Participants lost on average 1.3 kilos and their heart rate during exercise was on average lower by nine beats per minute by the time they had hiked for seven weeks.

Stamina, calculated according to blood chemistry was also improved, as was coordination, measured by standing on one leg on a wobble-board, added Merkel.

Story continues below…

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:27 April 30, 2012 by BR549
Taking a walk / hike is good for you...really??!! Anyone with the God-gifted sense of a billy goat knows it is. The studies and research projects we do these days really make me laugh at the effort, time and money wasted. LoL....
15:04 April 30, 2012 by Dayzee
Beat me to it @BR549, but I couldn't agree more. It is almost like saying "BREAKING NEWS: HOT COFFEE IS HOT!"
19:26 April 30, 2012 by rutledm
I don't believe it......fresh air and exercise good for you? New study! New study!
19:48 April 30, 2012 by Sayer
But, do we have to wear black socks? What's with that?
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