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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 February;59(2):335-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08221-X


language: English

Effects of a one-week vacation with various activity programs on cardiovascular parameters

Günther NEUMAYR 1 , Peter LECHLEITNER 2, 3

1 Private Practitioner, Lienz, Austria; 2 Medical Center Symbiomed, Lienz, Austria; 3 Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Lienz, Lienz, Austria

BACKGROUND: A vacation is considered essential to achieve recovery from the stress of work. Knowledge about the potential health effects of holidays is scarce. The East Tyrolean Health Tourism Study is an open comparative study to investigate the cardiovascular effects of a one-week vacation with different activities on healthy vacationers.
METHODS: Fifty-two healthy vacationers spending one week in East Tyrol participated in two types of vacation activities (golf versus Nordic walking or e-biking [NW&EB]). In the former group 30 subjects played golf for 33.5 h/week, and in the NW&EB group 22 engaged in Nordic walking or e-biking for 14.2 h/week. Cardiovascular parameters such as performance capacity, blood pressure, heart rate profiles and cardiac diastolic function were measured by a cardiopulmonary exercise test, Holter ECG and echocardiography performed one day before and after the stay.
RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in body weight of 1.0 kg in the NW&EB-group but not in the golf group. In both groups we noted a reduction of blood pressure and heart rate, which was marked and significant only in the golf group. We observed no significant changes in performance capacity but did note an improvement of cardiac diastolic function in both groups; the improvement was more pronounced in the NW&EB group.
CONCLUSIONS: A one-week vacation with an activity program for several hours per week is well tolerated by healthy vacationers and improves cardiovascular parameters. The cardiovascular benefits were homogeneous but differed in their magnitude, depending on the activity group. The benefits were probably due to the enhanced physical activity rather than purely a holiday effect.

KEY WORDS: Golf - Walking - Bicycling - Health resorts - Cardiovascular system

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