A recent study by Canadian Journal of Cardiology Nordic walking has been shown to be superior to other forms of exercise in cardiovascular rehabilitation for improving long-term functional capacity.
Compared to standard high-intensity interval training and moderate-to-intensity interval training, researchers found that Nordic walking led to greater improvements in functional capacity in patients with heart disease. The findings of their randomized clinical trial were recently published Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
Following acute cardiovascular events, cardiovascular rehabilitation and exercise training programs have been shown to have significant effects on functional ability, cardiorespiratory fitness, and mental health. However, some people find strenuous exercises such as stationary cycling and walking boring and may stop doing them once their cardiovascular rehabilitation program is over. To find out if they could encourage more people to continue exercising and what the benefits might be, researchers looked at more attractive fitness choices that appeal to a wider audience.
A growing body of research suggests that non-routine exercise such as Nordic walking and high-intensity interval training are better than regular exercise methods, as assessed by the Six-Minute Walk Test, a key indicator of cardiovascular events. In people with coronary artery disease. Nordic walking is a more advanced form of walking that uses specially designed poles to better engage the muscles in the upper and lower body.
“Patients with coronary artery disease often have reduced functional capacity, poor quality of life, and an increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular events and death,” said lead investigator Jennifer L. Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation, University of Ottawa Heart Institute; Faculty of Medicine; and School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Investigators compared the long-term results of 12-week rehabilitation with 1) high-intensity interval training; 2) constant training of moderate to vigorous intensity; and 3) Nordic walking, functional capacity, quality of life and depressive symptoms in patients with coronary artery disease. One hundred and thirty patients in one of these three groups were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of training, followed by a 14-week observation phase.
Although all exercise programs improved depression symptoms and quality of life, improvement in functional capacity after Nordic walking (+19%) was greater than high-intensity interval training (+13%) and moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training (+12%).
“This is a key finding because low functional capacity predicts the risk of future cardiovascular disease in people with cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Reid. “Nordic walking engages the core, upper and lower body muscles by reducing stress on the knees, resulting in significant improvements in functional capacity.”
Tasuku Terada, Ph.D., Exercise Physiology and Cardiovascular Laboratory, Department, “There is no previous study that has directly compared the long-term effects of high-intensity interval training, moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training, and Nordic walking.” He said. Heart Prevention and Rehabilitation, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
“This study is novel in that it compares the long-term effects (ie, 14 weeks after completion of cardiovascular rehabilitation) of different exercise programs that can be easily incorporated into daily exercise routines. Patients’ preferences should be taken into account when prescribing exercise for patients with cardiovascular disease. Our findings may influence patient care by providing alternative exercise options based on their needs and preferences,” he concluded.
In an accompanying editorial, Carl J. Lavey, MD, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, John Ochner Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine, Ochsner Clinical School, Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA, and colleagues further elaborate. Nordic going to a cardiovascular rehabilitation program offers a good improvement over standard moderate-intensity interval training or traditional walking, especially for patients who cannot tolerate high intensity exercise, or for patients who may be prevented from high-intensity interval training. .
“Adding Nordic poles to moderate to vigorous intensity walking is an easy, accessible option to improve walking capacity, increase energy expenditure, engage upper body muscles and improve other functional parameters such as posture, gait and balance,” he commented. Dr. Lavi.
“Providing a variety of exercise options promotes patient enjoyment and progress, which is important for follow-up and maintenance. Exercise regimens should be prescribed with patient goals, preferences, and abilities in mind,” he advises.
The study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health Sciences Centres, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Reference: “Sustained Effects of Various Exercise Activities on Physical and Mental Health in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial” by Tasuku Terada, PhD, Lisa M. Coty, Ph.D., Heather Tulloch, Ph.D. D., Matheus Mistura, MSc, Sol Vidal-Almela, MSc, Carley D. O’Neill, Ph.D., Robert D. Reid, Ph.D., Andrew Pipe, MD, and Jennifer L. Reed, PhD June 14 date 2022, Canadian Journal of Cardiology.