Case study:Testing for health risks in a Swedish master athlete


Hakan is 65 years old, with a competition background in orienteering.

After a break for many years, he wanted to start training and competing again in the master classes. But due to his age hakan was worried and during a competition he got a strong physical reaction with discomfort in his body, rash out-brake and urinary infection-like symptoms. 

-“Every time I trained, I was scared of getting a heart attack, I was worried every time.”  

Hakan wanted to feel safe during exercise and competition. After his negative health reaction he was worried about his health when he exercised.

Due to Hakans age and a previous diagnosis of high blood pressure Hakan was at medium risk for cardiovascular disease.

Examination and testing

In Hakans health history he had elevated blood pressure but recently he has not needed any medication. However initial health examination at Paliesius clinic showed elevated blood pressure.

Results from Hakans examination during rest:

Initial health examination.

ECG: Heart activity was normal at rest (ECG= Electrocardiogram is testing of the electrical activity of the heart.)

Blood pressure: 193/80 mm/hg (normal blood pressure is recommended to be 100 – 140/60 – 90 mmHg)  

Resting heart-rate: 70 b/min (resting heart rate is recommended to be at or below 70 b/min)

No other health issues were found. Increased blood pressure values were suspected to be due to stress and testing of reaction to physical exercise was important to get a full picture. No complaints or other symptoms.

Results from Hakans testing in physical exercise:

Testing was done in a clinical environment and in the field. Measurements were made to see the physical reaction both under controlled and real circumstances (In this case orienteering). During testing, continuous ECG and blood pressure reaction was made as a primary measure, but other parameters were also taken for a wider picture. read more about testing for master athletes:

High V02max: Meaning Hakan has very good cardiofitness.

Normal ECG during exercise. Meaning the heart showed no signs of irregular heart rhythm or other problems.

Blood pressure reaction was good. The blood pressure is within good limits during exercise. It raised as expected and lowered as expected.

Slow return to resting heart-rate. After exercise the heart-rate was elevated and returned to normal was slow, showing Hakan has lowered tolerance to exercise.


No life-threatening signs were seen during exercise, but Hakans heart rate recovery was slow. Hakan is recommended to do intermediate testing because of his age and history of high blood pressure. With intermediate testing any problem can be identified early.

Based on the testing the goal was formed to increase the recovery and exercise tolerance. An individual exercise program was constructed based on heart rate zones to increase exercise tolerance and recovery. With increased knowledge, tolerance and recovery the fear of heart attack was reduced.

By making small changes Hakan can now feel more safe and know that he is improving his health and cardio fitness. With increased tolerance he also minimizes the risk of adverse effects or risks in exercise and competition.

-“I got a safe zone to exercise in where my stamina is increased but also affect my health in a positive way. And I also got an upper heart rate limit where I don’t get any positive effects from exercise and only cause stress for my body.”

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