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Cardiovascular and Perceived Exertion Responses to Leisure Trail Hiking

Jacob W. Manning, Jeffrey Montes, Tori M. Stone, Robert W. Rietjens, John C. Young, Mark DeBeliso, James W. Navalta


The majority of U.S. adults participate in outdoor recreation, and hiking is a top activity. However, little literature exists in which the physiological responses to trail hiking are detailed. The purposes of this study were to compare cardiovascular and perceived exertion measurements during hiking on an easy rated versus a strenuous trail and to determine the reliability on the easy trail. Volunteers completed two easy hikes in 1 day and 1 strenuously rated trail the next day. Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded. Significant test-retest reliability was observed for HR, SBP, and RPE. The strenuous uphill trail elicited increased HR and RPE compared with the easy trail and the downhill portion. This shows that select cardiovascular and perceived exertion variables have moderate to high test-retest reliability. These results provide evidence that leisure trail hiking likely provides sufficient cardiovascular stimulation to induce beneficial physiological adaptations.


heart rate; blood pressure; hike

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