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Extended mountain stays are good for you

Gentle hiking in the mountains as part of a fitness programme © CIPRA-International, Jahr der Berge 2002

Mountain air has a beneficial effect also on patients with cardiovascular problems. The optimum effect is achieved at altitudes of 2000 metres above sea level and after a minimum stay of three weeks.
These are the findings of a study recently published by Thomas Becker of Cologne University.
The ascent from the lowlands triggers a slight stress reaction and speeds up both pulse and breathing. Blood pressure rises only slightly, however. After a phase of acclimatisation of around seven days the pulse begins to settle and the blood pressure is lowered. On average the pulse rate drops to 85% of its values at lowland levels. Gentle mountain hikes over differences in altitude of up to 500 metres are an effective training for treating cardiovascular disorders.
After a stay of at least three weeks and a regimen of gentle walks and little stress the positive repercussions can last for up to eight months after the return to the lowlands.
Source: www.uni-koeln.de/pi/i/2003.216.htm (de)
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