THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For individuals with peripheral artery disease, walking exercise at a pace inducing ischemic leg symptoms is beneficial compared with walking exercise without ischemic leg symptoms, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Michael M. Hammond, M.D., M.P.H., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues randomly assigned 264 participants with peripheral artery disease to home-based walking exercise that induced ischemic leg symptoms, home-based walking exercise without inducing ischemic leg symptoms, or a nonexercising control group for 12 months. The change in walking velocity over 4 m and change of the Short Physical Performance Battery at six- and 12-month follow-up were examined.

The researchers found that walking exercise that induced ischemic symptoms improved change in usual-paced walking velocity over 4 m at six- and 12-month follow-up (0.056 and 0.084 m/s, respectively), change in fast-paced walking velocity over 4 m at six-month follow-up, and change in Short Physical Performance Battery at 12-month follow-up compared with walking exercise without ischemic symptoms. Walking exercise at a pace that induced ischemic symptoms improved the change in usual-paced walking velocity over 4 m at six months compared with control (0.066 m/s); however, this benefit was not maintained at 12 months.

“Based on these results, clinicians should advise patients to walk for exercise at a pace that induces leg discomfort, instead of at a comfortable pace without pain,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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