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World This is what the mountain air does to our bodies

11:32  28 may  2020
11:32  28 may  2020 Source:   welt.de

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Wandern in den Bergen: Ein Erlebnis für Jung und Alt. © Roberto Caucino / Shutterstock.com Hiking in the mountains: an experience for young and old.

"We have to think of the Alps as a green island in a sea of ​​fine dust," says Arnulf Hartl. The expert explains why a break in the mountains is always worthwhile.

Hiking is not only a benefit for the body, many people also feel mentally relaxed afterwards. For nature lovers who want to spend their holidays nearby in times of Corona, there are a variety of regions that invite you to go hiking.

"A green island in a sea of ​​fine dust"

You can find the book "Heilkraft der Alpen" by Arnulf Hartl and Christina Geyer here.

"We have to think of the Alps as a green island in a sea of ​​fine dust: The purer air at the high altitude of the Alpine regions alone is a powerful factor and cleanses the upper respiratory tract and lungs," explains Arnulf Hartl, author of "Healing Power der Alpen " (publisher Bergwelten).

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Added to this is the shorter flowering season of the plants - "and as an allergy sufferer, I seek out the cool, low-pollen air in the mountains myself as often as possible", adds the head of the Institute for Eco-Medicine at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg. "Another performance-enhancing aspect of the Alps is the altitude, which promotes the build-up of vitalizing red blood cells after only three days - and from which we can benefit for 120 days because we can better transport oxygen from the lungs to the brain and muscles."


Very efficient muscle training

Unfortunately, people from highly dense urban agglomerations can hardly enjoy the forest in everyday life, says Hartl. Timeouts in the mountains and in the mountain forest are all the more important: "Uneven forest floor trains the muscles - but of course not as effectively as the very efficient eccentric muscle training when going downhill. In addition to its three-dimensionality, the mountain forest has a special effect: the mountain pine or mountain pine is the tree with the highest capacity to bind fine dust. High altitude training in filtered air is hard to beat. "

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And with which physical and psychological complaints or illnesses should one drive specifically into the mountains? The expert explains: "Regular physical activity such as mountain hiking and mountain biking promotes heart-lung fitness, strengthens the immune system and prevents, for example, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain or certain types of cancer. Mountain hiking - or green exercise, as described in of international literature means - has been shown to have even stronger health effects than exercise in the city or indoors. "

The often untouched nature of the Alps has a mood-enhancing effect, "increases self-confidence and movement in the wild protects even more effectively against mental illnesses than movement in urban or closed spaces. People who are close to nature have a higher vitality and life satisfaction and feel more positive emotions". Waterfalls represented a very special natural space in this regard: "Their murmur and their cooling mist from finely dusted water droplets can trigger a relaxed and detached state in us, all ambient noise disappears and meditative mindfulness sets in."

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Hartls co-author Christina Geyer, who lives and works as a freelance journalist in the Styrian National Park region of Gesaeuse, adds: "There are hardly any complaints or illnesses that have no effect on nature - or more specifically: the mountains. And if it’s just a psychological effect that occurs, for example in the way we feel and deal with pain. If you want to do something good for yourself and your health, you should go to the mountains, the alpine pasture or the forest - The main thing is to get out into nature. You don't have to get sick to do this. If you protect your health preventively, you don't have to move out when your hat is on fire. "

"Optimal is a combination of mountain hiking and wellness"

Even those who move their wellness vacation into the mountains should include some exercise: "In general, after 'low power activities' like passive wellness we don't feel as relaxed as after activities such as mountain hiking, "says Hartl. "The quality of sleep also increases after physical activity in the Alps. I consider the combination of mountain hiking and wellness to be optimal - especially in combination with the regional cuisine and the specific culinary offerings that have not previously had to travel around the world."

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Whether it's trendy sports or classic hiking, everything is helpful, according to the experts. "Every kind of exercise in the pure air of our mountains has health benefits: And each and every one of us will find an individual way of doing 'green mountain exercise' with pleasure," says Hartl. "I personally find the simplicity of hiking and that fascinating Movement on two legs. This most natural and original form of movement trains the whole body and can carry us 'on foot' to the most beautiful regions of the Alps. "

It is important to" put the sticks aside in order to train balance and coordination on two legs in alpine terrain and to get back to balance as fall prevention. This trains the muscles of the lower limbs most efficiently and also strengthens the muscles that are so important in the knee. "Christina Geyer adds that it does not take too exotic a discipline to achieve the greatest possible health effect." Less is sometimes more. A little exaggerated: We don't have to be on the glacier with a fat bike. "

" A long walk without any frills is just as beneficial for our health, "says the author." You should simply listen to your gut feeling. Nature has given us rich gifts with incredibly diverse spaces. Whether forest or alpine pasture, mountain or lake - I think the Alps really have the right environment for every taste. "

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