If you’ve got peripheral artery disease, you might want to remember the phrase “no pain, no gain” and live by it.
New research found that people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) who walked at a pace that caused discomfort or even pain were able to boost their overall walking ability.
So, even though exercise that causes pain is difficult, it could be quite beneficial.
PAD occurs when arteries that transport blood from the heart throughout the body narrow and reduce oxygen and blood flow. It is typically felt in the legs and can lead to cramping, weakness, fatigue, aching, and pain during walking. The symptoms typically subside after about 10 minutes of rest.
The new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, included 264 people with PAD. Each was randomly assigned to one of three groups for 12 months. The groups either:
- Walked at home at a comfortable pace
- Walked at a pace that caused leg symptoms
- No walking
Each participant completed leg function tests at the beginning of the study and again at six and 12 months. Researchers measured how quickly each participant could walk 13 feet at their usual pace and then as fast as they could go.
They also competed other physical performance tests.
The group that walked until discomfort or pain was able to walk further than those who walked at low intensity at both the six and 12-month intervals. Further, the higher-pace walkers were able to outperform their counterparts on the leg function tests.
If you’re battling PAD, try to pick up the pace and push through the onset of the pain. Doing so may lead to greater functionality and walking capacity.