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Benefits of outdoor exercise and recovery outdoors in elderly
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science. (Health Effects of Outdoor Recreation (HERO))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8684-608X
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics and Statistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3623-5034
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4934-8684
2019 (English)In: HEPA Europe, Odense, Denmark, August 28-30, 2019: abstract book, 2019, p. 38-38Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the ”outdoors” has an added health effect on top of that of physical activity. This hypothesis is based on the fairly extensive volume of evidens suggesting that the outdoor environment is beneficial for overall health. We, however, consider most previous studies insufficiently designed in order to draw causal relationship between spending time outdoors and examined health parameters. In this study we state that our experimental design allows us to do just that. 

Methods:

In this randomized cross-over experimental design, 49 healthy subjects (+65 years, 27 female) performed a standardized submaximal bike ergometer test in three different environments (indoors, simulated outdoors and outdoors). The test consisted of 20 minutes cycling and subjects were instructed to stay between 11-13 at the Borg RPE scale (i.e. moderate intensity). Each test was followed by two hours of passive recovery. We measured power output, heart rate, lactate and counts of five fractions (lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophiles, basophiles and eosinophiles) of white blood cells (leukocytes) in circulation.

Results:

Our results revealed that the outdoor treatment resulted in higher levels of lactate, higher heart rate and higher power output despite that there were no differences in Borg RPE-rating between the treatments. The white blood cell analysis showed an increase of circulating leukocytes in almost all fractions immediately post exercise in all treatments. Numbers decreased rapidly post exercise and the lymphocyte numbers stayed well under baseline for more than one hour during recovery. This is referred to as an “open window” where the immune function is temporarily suppressed and there is an elevated risk of infection of primarily URTI.

Conclusions:

Our results not only suggest that exercise is more efficient out of doors such that more exercise/effort is obtained but also that recovery outdoors may be a way to decrease the risk of infections due to exercise induced immune suppression. The risk of getting an infection is known to be generally lower out of doors. Taken together, our results support the notion that exercising and spending time outdoors indeed is beneficial for health in senior citizens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 38-38
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sport Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-88926OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-88926DiVA, id: diva2:1347978
Conference
HEPA Europe, Odense, Denmark, August 28-30, 2019
Funder
The Kamprad Family Foundation, 20180238Available from: 2019-09-03 Created: 2019-09-03 Last updated: 2019-09-09Bibliographically approved

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Ahnesjö, JonasKarlsson, Peter S.Bergman, Patrick

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