WEDNESDAY, June 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Exercise has positive prolonged and sustained effects on functional capacity, quality of life (QoL), and depression symptoms in patients with coronary heart disease; however, Nordic walking confers additional benefits in increasing functional capacity, according to a study published online June 14 in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Tasuku Terada, Ph.D., from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 130 patients with coronary artery disease to 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), moderate-to-vigorous-intensity continuous training (MICT), or Nordic walking (NW). Eighty-six patients completed assessments at 26 weeks (29, 27, 30 participants in the HIIT, MICT, NW groups, respectively). The effects of these three interventions on functional capacity, QoL, and depression symptoms were assessed at baseline, and at weeks 12 and 26.

The researchers observed significant improvements in six-minute walk test distance, QoL, and depression symptoms from baseline in all groups. There were greater increases seen in the six-minute walk test distance with NW (94.2 m) versus HIIT (59.9 m) or MICT (55.6 m). There were also significant increases noted in six-minute walk test distance and physical QoL between weeks 12 and 26.

“The addition of Nordic poles to moderate-to-vigorous-intensity walking is a simple, accessible option to enhance improvements in walking capacity, increase energy expenditure, engage upper body musculature, and improve other functional parameters such as posture, gait, and balance,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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