June 29, 2022 – A new study in people with heart disease shows that Nordic walking–think cross-country skiing without skates–improved their mental and physical health more than other types of training.
The researchers used a 6-minute walking test to measure the “functional ability” of 130 study participants, which looks at how hard a person exerts themselves in physical activity.
According to Tasuko Terada, PhD, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues.
The researchers found that over the course of 26 weeks, average changes in the 6-minute walking test distance moved from about 55 to 60 meters for moderate to vigorous activity to more than 94 meters with Nordic walking.
The conclusions were Posted online June 14 in Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
“If someone is looking for a different kind of exercise, I think Nordic Walking can be easily adapted for people who need Nordic Walking canes, and it turns Nordic Walking into a full-body exercise,” says Terada. “Besides using your legs to walk, Nordic walking also adds exercise to your upper body. You are using your arms to move forward, which can lead to increased energy expenditure.”
There is plenty of support for increasing exercise and physical activity in people with heart disease, which improves quality of life, exercise capacity, mental health, and reduces depression, says Carl “Chip” Lavie, MD, of the University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans.
“It has huge potential benefits for long-term prognosis, especially for patients with problems with posture, walking and balance. The potential use of poles in combination with Nordic walking could allow many patients to engage the upper body more and thus achieve greater benefits. About improving ability on exercise,” says Lavie, who co-authored it editorial In the study.
The study involved coronary heart patients undergoing rehabilitation after various cardiac procedures. There were 29 patients who were randomly assigned to intermittent high-intensity training, 27 patients to continuous training of moderate to intense intensity, and 30 patients to the Nordic walking group. The average age of the three groups was about 60 years.
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