The Canadian Journal of Cardiology has published the findings of its randomised clinical trial. Following catastrophic cardiovascular events, cardiovascular rehabilitation and exercise training programmes are linked to significant gains in functional ability, cardiorespiratory fitness, and mental health.
In comparison with the standard high-intensity interval training and moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training, researchers found that Nordic walking in patients with coronary heart disease resulted in a greater improvement in functional capacity, or the ability to carry out activities of daily living.
Nevertheless, some people find repetitive exercises like stationary cycling and walking to be boring and may quit working out once their cardiovascular rehabilitation programme is through. To find out if they could encourage more people to continue exercising and what benefits might be realised, researchers looked into more appealing exercise options.
In order to improve functional capacity as measured by a six-minute walk test, an important predictor of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease, there is growing evidence that non-traditional exercise interventions, such as high-intensity interval training and Nordic walking, are more effective than traditional exercise approaches.
Nordic walking is a more advanced form of walking exercise that uses poles with specialised designs to further involve the muscles in both the upper and lower body. Researchers investigated the long-term effects of 12-week rehabilitation with Nordic walking, high-intensity interval training, and continuous exercise at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity. On the ability to function, the quality of life, and the signs of depression in people with coronary artery disease.
130 patients were randomly assigned to one of these three groups for a 12-week training period, followed by a 14-week observation period. They discovered that while all exercise regimens reduced depressive symptoms and increased quality of life, Nordic walking (+19%) had the highest impact on functional capacity when compared to high-intensity interval training (+13%) and moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training (+12%).
“This is a key finding because lower functional capacity predicts a higher risk of future cardiovascular events in people with coronary artery disease,” noted Dr. Reed. “Nordic walking engages core, upper and lower body muscles while reducing loading stress at the knee, which may have resulted in greater improvements in functional capacity.”
According to Tasuku Terada, Ph.D., no prior study has specifically evaluated the long-term benefits of Nordic walking, moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training, and high-intensity interval training.
“Providing a variety of exercise options enhances patient enjoyment and progression, which is important for adherence and maintenance. Exercise modalities should be prescribed with consideration of patient goals, preferences, and capabilities,” he advised.