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J Travel Med. 2004 Sep-Oct;11(5):300-4.

Vacation at moderate and low altitude improves perceived health in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

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1
Department of Physiology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent data suggest that vacation may improve cardiovascular health, an effect possibly moderated by altitude. The aim of the present study was to study the effect of a 3-week vacation at moderate and low altitude on perceived health in individuals with increased cardiovascular risk.

METHODS:

Seventy-two overweight males, both occupationally active and retired (mean age=56.6 +/- 7.2 years), with signs of metabolic syndrome were randomly assigned to identical sojourns at either moderate (1,700 m) or low (300 m) altitude and engaged in four 3- to 4-h heart-rate-controlled hiking tours per week. Perceived health was measured 2 weeks before vacation, at the beginning and end of vacation, and 7 weeks after vacation.

RESULTS:

Fitness, recreational ability, positive and negative mood and social activities improved during vacation, independent of altitude and occupational status, although the day-to-day improvement in quality of sleep was delayed at moderate altitude. During the follow-up examinations, improvements in all reported aspects of health except for social activities were maintained. In comparison to retired individuals, active individuals showed a greater long-term improvement in social activities.

CONCLUSION:

Vacation positively affects perceived health independent of altitude or occupational status in generally inactive overweight males.

PMID:
15544714
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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