Muscles, heart, blood pressure: Dangers when hiking – chief physicians: “Stretch after the tour”

Muscles, heart, blood pressure: Dangers when hiking - chief physicians: "Stretch after the tour"
  • Andrew Beez

    FromAndrew Beez


Even in old age you can enjoy the mountains – including fun in the hut. However, seniors in particular should heed a few health tips. Here’s advice from two university chief physicians who are enthusiastic about mountains.

Seniors should use trekking poles when walking downhill. “They reduce the load by about 20 percent, especially on the knee and kneecap,” advises Prof. Rüdiger von Eisenhart-Rothe, head of orthopedics at the University Hospital Rechts der Isar. His chief physician colleague Prof. Martin Halle adds: “When walking downhill, the muscular strain, especially on the thighs, is much higher.”

Chief Physician Professor Martin Halle: “Take it easy so that the blood pressure does not rise too much”

Fun in the vertical: sports cardiologist Professor Martin Halle from the university hospital on the right bank of the Isar bouldering.

© Achim Frank Schmidt

Chief Physician Professor von Eisenhart-Rothe advises: “Stretch your thigh muscles after the tour”

Important: Never lean on the telescopic poles with your full weight, they can sag – risk of falling! Your hiking shoes should be ankle-high and have a good shoe bed. “This optimally supports the rolling behavior of the foot,” says von Eisenhart-Rothe. “After the tour you should stretch your thigh muscles, especially if you have an artificial knee.” Seniors who have not been on tour for a long time should have a medical check-up beforehand, advises sports cardiologist Halle: “Take it easy! This will prevent your blood pressure from rising too much.

Enthusiasm for exercise: Professor Rüdiger von Eisenhart-Rothe, Director of Orthopedics and Sports Orthopedics at the University Hospital Rechts der Isar, abseiling in the climbing hall in Munich-Thalkirchen.

© Frank Achim Schmidt

Avoid mountain tours over 2,500 meters if you have a heart condition

“If you have pressure in your chest, dizziness or shortness of breath, you should be careful because it could be caused by a circulatory disorder in the heart. If you have a heart problem, you should avoid altitudes over 2,500 meters because of the lower oxygen content in the air,” recommends Professor Halle.

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Hiking can also be pure enjoyment and joie de vivre at an advanced age. However, there are a few health tips to keep in mind. (icon picture)

© Imago

The equipment is also decisive for mountain tours and hikes, regardless of age, the doctors continue. Climbers should always make sure they have good sun protection, especially at higher altitudes, and apply sunscreen from time to time, especially on strenuous tours. Of course, a rain cover also belongs in the backpack, because the weather in the mountains can always change quickly. If you exert yourself, you also have to make sure that you drink enough. With all understanding for the desire for a hut schnapps: It is better to be careful with alcohol when hiking and rather toast the beautiful tour in the evening.

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Regular exercise pays off even in old age

In principle, movement is also highly recommended for seniors, emphasize von Eisenhart-Rothe and Halle. Her recipe for success is: the more regularly, the better. This applies even in old age, emphasizes Halle. How effective training can be, for example even after the age of 80 in care facilities, is something the prevention doctor is currently researching in a major scientific project, the so-called bestform study. With the support of the Beisheim Foundation, more than 400 seniors from over 20 senior citizens’ facilities in Upper Bavaria took part. The evaluation is currently in progress. In many cases, the participants already report that their performance and quality of life has improved as a result of the bestform training on special strength training equipment for seniors. Concrete analyzes and figures for the large-scale study are expected in the coming months.

List of rubrics: © Achim Frank Schmidt


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