CVD: Nordic walking more effective than other exercises

CVD: Nordic walking more effective than other exercises

Ottawa, Canada – Nordic walking has been shown to be significantly more effective in improving functional capacity than moderate- to high-intensity continuous training and high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT, which alternates short-duration intense exertion with periods of low-intensity activity) in a single center randomized controlled trial.

Participants who practiced Nordic walking saw their functional capacity, as measured by 6-minute walk test distances, improve more than those who followed any of the other exercise strategies (interaction effect, p = 0.010).

From baseline to week 26, the mean changes in 6-minute walk test distance were 55.6 m and 59.9 m for moderate- to high-intensity continuous training and HIIT, respectively, but 94. 2 m in the Nordic walking group, reported Tasuku TeradaPhD, from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (Ontario, Canada), and colleagues.

The results were published online June 14 in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology[1].

lasting effects

Previous research observed these same results at the end of a 12-week intervention and showed that while all three strategies were safe and had positive effects on the physical and mental health of these patients, Nordic walking had a better effect on increasing 6 minute activity. walk test scores than continuous moderate-to-high-intensity training and HIIT, the researchers noted.

“This study is an extension of the previous study to show that Nordic walking has lasting effects even after the observation phase” of 12 to 26 weeks, Tasuku Terada said in an interview.

“Exercise is a treatment that can improve the health of patients, but unfortunately it is often not used as often as it should,” said the researcher. | Medscape Cardiology.

Exercise is a treatment that can improve the health of patients, but unfortunately it is often not used as often as it should be.
Tasuku Terada

Offering patients additional exercise modalities is beneficial because not everyone likes HIIT workouts or long, steady walks, Tasuku Terada said. “So if that’s the case, we can recommend Nordic walking as an alternative exercise type and expect a similar or less good impact on functional capacity. »

I think this supports the idea that, as many other studies show, physical activity and exercise improve functional capacity, no matter how it is measured, and have beneficial effects on mental health and quality of life, and in particular on depression,” he said. Dr. Carl “Chip” Lavieof the University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the publication [2]in a telephone interview.

“Doctors should encourage patients to do the type of exercise they want to do. A lot of people ask what the best exercise is, and the best exercise is the one the person is going to do,” said Dr. Lavie.

The best exercise is the one the person is going to do.
Dr. Carl “Chip” Lavie

Nordic walking is an improved form of walking that engages the muscles of the upper and lower body, noted Dr. M. Lavie.

“I think it provides an additional option that a lot of people wouldn’t have thought of. For many patients who have musculoskeletal, posture, gait, or balance problems, using canes can be a way to allow them to walk much better and increase their speed, and by doing so, they will be in better shape,” continued Mr. Life.

The use of poles can be a way to allow them to walk much better and increase their speed.
Dr. Carl “Chip” Lavie

Furthermore, these results confirm the interest of using Nordic walking in cardiac rehabilitation programs, the editorialists note.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

The study involved patients with coronary artery disease who underwent cardiac revascularization. Their doctor then referred them to a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of the following intervention groups: Nordic walking (n=30), moderate-to-high intensity continuous training (n=27), and HIIT (n=29) over a 12-week period. There was then an additional 14-week observation period after the exercise program. The mean age was around 60 years in all intervention groups.

The research team analyzed participants’ degree of depression with the Beck Depression Inventory-II, quality of life with the Short Form-36 and HeartQoL, and functional capacity with a 6-minute walk test. They assessed functional capacity, depression, and quality of life at enrollment, 12 weeks, and 26 weeks.

Using linear mixed models with extended measures, the study authors evaluated fast effects, that is, between week 12 and week 26, and prolonged effects, that is, between the start of the study and week 26.

From baseline to week 26, participants performed significantly better on quality of life, symptoms of depression, and the 6-minute walk test (P < 0.05).

Physical quality of life and 6-minute walk test distance increased significantly between weeks 12 and 26 (P < 0.05).

Important: At week 26, all groups reached the minimum clinical threshold difference of 54 m, although participants in the Nordic walking cohort showed significantly greater improvement in outcomes.

Other results:

  • From baseline to week 12, physical activity levels increased significantly, and this improvement was maintained throughout the observation period.

  • During the observation period, the mental criteria composite decreased significantly, while the physical criteria composite scores improved.

After the end of cardiac rehabilitation, functional capacity continued to increase significantly.

Continuous moderate- to high-intensity training, HIIT, and Nordic walking had significant positive sustained effects on depressive symptoms and general and disease-specific quality of life, with no difference in the extent of improvements between types of exercise.

Study limitations include that women represented only a small portion of the study group, limiting the generalizability of these data, that the cohort was recruited from a single medical institution, and that the length of follow-up was short, the researchers note. . .

“Further research is needed to assess the effectiveness and integration of Nordic walking into home exercise after supervised cardiac rehabilitation for the maintenance of physical and mental health,” the editorialists conclude.

Researchers Terada, Lavie and Taylor report that they have no relevant financial conflicts of interest.

The article was originally published on under the title Nordic Walking Bests Other Workouts on Functional Outcome in CVD. Translated by Stephanie Lavaud.

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