If you have heart disease and are looking for an enjoyable, low-impact way to improve your health, look no further than Nordic walking. Nordic walking, an activity that has become increasingly popular in recent years, provides a variety of health benefits that can be sustained over time. Keep reading to learn more about Nordic walking and discover why it might be the perfect exercise for you.
Nordic walking is an activity that involves walking with the aid of long poles resembling ski poles. It is specifically designed to engage the upper and lower body muscles further. This type of exercise is becoming more popular among those who want a different type of workout.
Following major cardiovascular events, including heart disease, rehabilitation and exercise training programs have been found to provide considerable improvements in functional capacity, fitness, and mental health. However, some patients don’t follow through with these exercises because they find them monotonous and stop them once their cardiovascular rehabilitation program is completed.
So, researchers set out to explore if different exercise options may appeal to more patients causing them to stick with them longer. Their study involved 130 patients and compared the prolonged effects of a 12-week rehabilitation with three types of exercise; high-intensity interval training, moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training, and Nordic walking. Functional capacity, quality of life, and depression symptoms in patients with coronary artery disease were analyzed.
Over a 14-week observation phase, it was found that while all exercise programs improved depression symptoms and overall quality of life, the most marked improvement in functional capacity was greatest after Nordic walking (+19%). This was 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 higher risk of future cardiovascular events in people with coronary artery disease,” explained Jennifer L. Reed, Ph.D. “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.”
This is the first study of its kind to simultaneously compare the sustained effects of different exercise programs that can be done every day. It helps to show physicians that when prescribing exercise for patients with coronary artery disease, it is vital to take their preferences into consideration.
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