Mountain fitness: Digital technology should protect against overexertion when hiking

In Bavaria and Austria, hiking trails were “cardio-charted”. After a test hike, hikers will be shown the tours that are suitable for them.

 Mountain fitness: digital technology should protect against overexertion when hiking

Researchers from Bavaria and Austria want to enable tourists to hike in a healthy way that is individually tailored to their physical constitution. To do this, they digitally mapped hiking trails in Werfenweng in Salzburger Land and in Aschau in Chiemgau with additional new health information. During a short test hike on site, hikers can independently determine their individual heart fitness and find hikes in the area that suit their personal profile.

In Aschau in Werfenweng there is a one kilometer long hiking trail called the Cardio-Trekking-Testtrail; the first with a height difference of 90 m, the other with 130 m. In order for hikers to determine their personal endurance capacity, they should complete these trails while wearing a fitness tracker such as a chest strap, upper arm belt or a smart watch that can measure the heart rate. The individual “mountain fitness” is determined from the values ​​of the fitness tracker.

Test hikes

So that the hiking trails could be “cardio-mapped”, test hikes of around 8 km from more than 200 test subjects who wore mobile breath gas analysis devices for performance diagnostics. The paths are not only described in terms of length, altitude, duration and nature, but also in terms of cardiovascular stress intensities. From this, the data experts from Salzburg Research have developed a model to derive the individual stress intensity using commercially available fitness trackers such as a chest strap or smartwatch.

The routes were validated for healthy adults aged 45 and over and classified in a traffic light system, from red “intensive” to green “light intensity”. These are displayed to those who want to hike if they have entered their age, gender, average heart rate, duration and the altitude difference covered on the test route in a form called BergFit-Test.

The researchers at the Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft believe that their concept is applicable to other regions. For these they have provided a manual with some details.

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